Golden State Warriors v Denver Nuggets

Monday And-1 Links: JaVale McGee should be back Tuesday


Here is our regular look around the NBA — links to stories worth reading and notes to check out (stuff that did not get its own post here at PBT) — done in bullet point form. Because bloggers love bullet points like you loved the Beyonce halftime show.

• Set your DVRs: JaVale McGee should return to the Nuggets rotation Tuesday. That’s bad news if your name is Timofey Mozgov, but good news if you’re looking for something to put in your next blooper reel.

• Brandon Jennings has changed agents to sign with Jeff Shwartz. What’s that mean? Jennings is a restricted free agent next summer and the man wants to get paid. As Ken Berger points out at, Shwartz’s pattern is to get players in bigger markets where they have more endorsement opportunities. Not ideal for the Bucks (although they can match any offer Jennings gets next summer.

• Would Kevin Garnett actually let the Celtics trade him?

• A Detroit columnist complaining about how many Kobe Bryant fans were at the Palace Sunday. It’s like that in almost every arena Kobe or LeBron James play in, truth be told.

• Deron Williams’ new $15.8 million New York penthouse is… well, you get what you pay for.

• Since talk of a potential move to Seattle started, the Kings have really struggled on the court.

• Jeremy Lin tweaked his ankle in practice Monday and is now a game-time decision for Tuesday.

• Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is out Monday with a concussion and may not play Wednesday either. He needs to be cleared by a league neurologist before he can get back on the court.

• It may be late for most of you, but if you read one bit of Rudy Gay trade analysis it should be this one from Tom Ziller at SBN. Fantastic stuff.

• In the wake of a lot of Super Bowl betting, not to mention a major match fixing scandal in the international soccer world, there’s a great story in the New Yorker asking if we as America need to reconsider our national ban on sports gambling. It’s not a simple debate.

• Some interesting statistical milestones to watch in the NBA as we head into the second half of the season.

League executives, players wince watching this Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant
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Over the last few days, we’ve written in more detail about Kobe Bryant‘s shooting troubles. He’s jacking up threes his fastest pace ever, he can’t create space to get off clean shots, he’s hitting 31.1 percent overall and 19.5 percent from three. There are flashes of vintage Kobe, but they are fleeting (and mostly because poor shot choices are falling). Byron Scott is still in Kobe’s corner, saying they just need to get the veteran better looks.

However, talk to people around the league about Kobe and you hear some variation of the phrase “hard to watch.” After 20 seasons, more than 55,000 minutes on the court, and coming off two major injuries, Kobe clearly is not the same player everyone admired for so long.

Over at the Los Angeles Times Mike Bresnahan and Broderick Turner got a number of sources to wince about Kobe for a story — except nobody wanted their name attached to attacking a legend of the game.

“Man, I don’t want to see Kobe go out like this, looking this bad and not able to do what he once could do,” said a retired guard who faced Bryant. “He doesn’t have anything else to prove to anybody. He was one of the greatest. I know he’s owed that $25 million, but he should just walk away now. He ain’t got it anymore.”

“He’s one of the few players in NBA history to have gotten everything possible out of his body. Now his body has nothing left to give,” (an Eastern Conference executive) said. “But that’s life in the NBA, in professional sports. At some point, the body just can’t do it anymore and Kobe’s body can’t do it anymore.”

One West scout said Bryant looked “disinterested” at times. A current player in the West went a step further.

“Yeah, I’ve seen him play and it’s disgusting,” he said. “He’s one of the best of all time. But he really hasn’t played that much in the last two or three years. He’s got nothing left. It’s sad to watch because he used to be so great, and I mean great.”

Kobe is not going to walk away mid-season, and nobody wants an injury to force him out of the game.

But it’s hard to see how anything is going to dramatically change. Kobe may shoot a little better than his current but it’s not likely going to change in a meaningful way. Which will just make things hard to watch for a full season.

Spurs to give Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili Friday night off in Denver

Manu Ginobili, Harrison Barnes, Tim Duncan
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The Spurs are 12-3 and comfortably in second place in the West, they have the best defense in the NBA allowing just 93.8 points per 100 possessions, and they have a top-10 offense to go with it.

So, time to start making sure guys are rested.

That is the first night of a back-to-back, with former Spurs’ assistant coach Mike Budenholzer and his Atlanta Hawks coming to San Antonio on Saturday. Popovich is saving his two veterans for that game.

Duncan and Ginobili have looked like they found the fountain of youth this season. Duncan is taking on less of the offense but has been very efficient in those moments. Ginobili has the impact he did a few years back in his bench role.

What Gregg Popovich cares about is them playing like that come the postseason. So they will rest on Friday.

Brandon Armstrong impersonates Ray Allen (video)

2014 NBA Finals - Game Five
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Ray Allen is retired-ish, but he’ll always be running through screens – in our mind and in this video.

Celtics draft pick Marcus Thornton gets beer dumped on head during Australian game (video)

Marcus Thornton, Will Cherry

The Celtics drafted Marcus Thornton with No. 45 pick in the 2015 NBA draft. That essentially entitled him to the required tender – a one-year contract offer, surely unguaranteed at the minimum.

Thornton rejected that, which is almost always a mistake.

Rejecting the tender is a favor to the drafting team, which gets to keep the player’s exclusive rights for a year. If Thornton tries to join the NBA now, he’s stuck negotiating with only the Celtics.

By accepting the tender, the player typically gets one of two outcomes. He either plays on that contract and draws an NBA salary or he gets waived. But even getting waived is better than rejecting the tender, because at least the player becomes a free agent and can negotiate with any team.

Players who reject the tender go to another league and play for less money. In Thornton’s case, that mean Australia.

How’s that going?

(Almost) never reject the required tender as a second-round pick.