Metta World Peace, Mike D'Antoni

Mike D’Antoni agrees with Kobe in not wanting Metta World Peace amnestied


Kobe Bryant has already gone on record saying he didn’t want the Lakers to amnesty Metta World Peace. In that sentiment, at least, Kobe and Mike D’Antoni are on the same page.

Marc Berman of the New York Post:

Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni said today the decision to amnesty Metta World Peace was purely financial and he wanted to keep the defensive small forward from Queensbridge.

“Obviously it’s a byproduct of the CBA,’’ D’Antoni told The Post today at the Las Vegas summer league at UNLV. “As a person and player, I couldn’t find anyone better. He’s great. I enjoyed coaching him. I hope he finds something great. He deserves it. It’s not the coaches. It’s management. They have to manage the cap.’’

The Lakers amnestied World Peace to save money. Kobe and D’Antoni aren’t interested in saving the Lakers money. They’re interested in winning games, and World Peace would have helped them do that.Though World Peace is declining, maybe to the point he’s no longer a reliable starter, it’s unlikely the minimum-salaried player the Lakers sign to replace him will play as well next season as World Peace would have.Of course, that doesn’t mean the Buss Family was wrong to amnesty World Peace. His salary, plus the resulting luxury-tax bill, likely would have cost them around $12.3 million. That’s a lot of many to pay a marginal starter on a so-so team.Really, this issue is just a matter of perspective, and the Kobe/D’Antoni have are coming from a very different one than the Buss Family. From the outside, that’s understandable and reasonable.But if the Lakers falter this season, which would undoubtedly lead to internal tension and sniping,  there’s a distinct possibility Kobe and/or D’Antoni will cite the amnesty of World Peace to show ownership isn’t committed to winning. In that regard, it’s important for Kobe and D’Antoni to stake out their positions now and get ahead of the argument when it comes to the strife that could be coming.

Thabo Sefolosha’s lawyer: White police officer targeted black Hawks forward

Thabo Sefolosha
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NEW YORK (AP) — A lawyer representing a professional basketball player arrested outside a New York City nightclub has told a jury his client was targeted because he’s black.

Attorney Alex Spiro said Tuesday in Manhattan Criminal Court that a white police officer saw a black man in a hoodie when he confronted the Atlanta Hawks’ Thabo Sefolosha on April 8.

Sefolosha was arrested while leaving a Manhattan nightclub following a stabbing. He subsequently suffered a season-ending leg fracture after a confrontation with police.

A prosecutor said in opening statements that Sefolosha called an officer who repeatedly told him and others to leave a “midget.”

Sefolosha pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor obstructing government administration, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest charges. The Swiss citizen declined a plea deal from prosecutors.


DeMar DeRozan says he hates talking about free agency, takes pride in Raptors longevity

DeMar DeRozan
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DeMar DeRozan has a $10,050,000 player option for 2016-17. Given the rapidly escalating salary cap, it’s a practical certainty DeRozan will opt out and get a major raise.

But he says he doesn’t want to talk about it.

DeRozan, via Eric Koreen of the National Post:

“I hate that, honestly,” DeRozan said in a one-on-one interview. “I never speak about it. With me, I’ve always been that one player: I’ve been loyal. I’ve been every single thing you can think of here. I think people don’t understand how much pride I take in playing (in Toronto). A lot of times when I do get asked that, it kind of frustrates me.

“Everyday I wake up, I take pride in being the longest Raptor here. People bring up third or whatever in franchise scoring — there is so much stuff like that.”

This sounds awfully similar to LaMarcus Aldridge, who stated his desire last year to become the great Trail Blazer ever and then signed with the Spurs this summer.

Things change, and the impracticality of an extension ensures DeRozan will hit free agency. I believe he’s devoted to the Raptors right now, but his loyalty might change in the next nine months – especially once he sees contract offers from other suitors.

Toronto’s interest in DeRozan might fluctuate, too. He’s a nice player, but the Raptors haven’t won a playoff series with him despite winning the division the last two years. Depending how this season goes, Masai Ujiri might want to rework the roster significantly next summer, and letting DeRozan walk could create major cap space.

I believe DeRozan wants to return to the Raptors, and I believe they want to keep him. But so much can change between now and when both sides must make that call.