In 2010-11, Phil Jackson cut back Kobe Bryant’s minutes by five a game over the previous year. Coincidentally, Kobe Bryant’s PER jumped from 21.9 to 23.9.
Last season, rookie coach Mike Brown leaned heavily on Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol, with Kobe’s minutes jumping back up to 2011 levels — he was fourth in the league in minutes per game at 38.4. Kobe’s PER returned to 21.9. (Gasol played the second most total minutes of any player in the league, behind only Kevin Durant.)
But this summer Kobe Bryant did not return to Germany for the blood-spinning procedure he has promoted in the past. Playing (and winning gold) in the London Olympics as well as other commitments didn’t leave time.
Which has Brown saying he plans to keep Kobe’s minutes down this year. He swears. Here is what official team Lakers reporter Mike Trudell tweeted:
Brown needs to treat the regular season like Gregg Popovich and Doc Rivers do — sacrifice games in the short term if you need to so players get rest. What matters with an older team — and this means Steve Nash, Antawn Jamison and others as well — is being rested and healthy when the playoffs start. A top seed is nice, but a number two seed with a healthy, rested team is better.
Brown is saying the right things, but we’ll see if he does them.
This is a huge season — a contract kind of season of sorts — for Noah Vonleh in Portland. The team has an option on him next season (the third of his rookie deal), and to impress people he is going to have to earn minutes at the four in front of Al-Farouq Aminu, Moe Harkless, Meyers Leonard, and Ed Davis.
The Blazers have high hopes for Vonleh, he was a central part of the Nicolas Batum trade with Charlotte. However, watching Vonleh at Summer League — 12 points a game on 46.3 percent shooting, 8.8 rebounds a game in more than 30 minutes a night — he didn’t show the development anyone had hoped to see. He should have dominated at that level. He didn’t.
Now there another injury setback for him.
He should be good to go around the start of training camp at the end of September.
But he can’t afford a slow start in training camp (that set him back his rookie season). He needs to show what he can do from day one, or Portland is going to move on without him.
The Boston Celtics have 16 players with guaranteed contracts and NBA rules allow just 15 players on the roster. Which means if a trade doesn’t happen by the start of the season, someone is going to get cut but still paid for the season.
This doesn’t change that.
The Celtics signed guard John Holland last season (he played a total of one playoff minute for them), but the deal was not guaranteed for this season. From Shams Charania of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.
This was expected. Holland, who has played on the Puerto Rican national team, will be looking for a new gig either in the D-League or overseas (it’s unlikely an NBA team offers more than a training camp invite) By the end of training camp, the Celtics also likely will cut second-round pick Ben Bentil of Providence, who had a partially guaranteed deal.
That will leave R.J. Hunter and James Young battling it out for the final roster spot in Boston.
Ty Lawson is headed to the Kings, as first reported on Monday. The team made the move official on Wednesday with a press release, and USA Today‘s Sam Amick offers up another important piece of information: Lawson’s deal is not guaranteed, making it essentially a make-good camp invite.
It’s staggering how Lawson went from a borderline All-Star level point guard in 2012-13 to signing a non-guaranteed one-year deal with a lottery team three years later. His off-the-court issues have contributed to that, and he didn’t produce last season in Houston and Indiana. Still, he should have a pretty good chance of making the Kings’ roster, with Seth Curry and Rajon Rondo gone and Darren Collison their only proven point guard. They need depth there.
When Ben Simmons declared for the NBA draft this spring, he signed with LeBron James‘ Klutch Sports group for representation. That association would appear to have its advantages for the No. 1 overall pick, including the opportunity to work out with James and Dwyane Wade during the offseason. Wade posted a group photo on Instagram on Wednesday afternoon:
Also, it’s pretty staggering to see Simmons standing next to James and realizing that he’s bigger and taller.