Ralph Sampson was part of the pitch to bring Dwight Howard to Houston — he’s a Hall of Famer and part of the Rockets history of big men.
But like a guy who has been through the long grind of an NBA season, Sampson knows assembling good players is like having all the ingredients to make Pad Thai — putting it together in a way that works is something else entirely.
“You got a good start (in Houston), you got the makings of a good foundation, now the coaching staff and everybody’s got to put it together,” Sampson told ProBasketballTalk during the adidas Nations high school showcase, where Sampson was a coach. “The pieces are coming together but it’s an 82-game season a lot of things can happen as far as injuries or other situations.”
Keeping Howard healthy and getting him back to playing — particularly defending and rebounding — like he did in Orlando would be key. Sampson said he thought if the systems are set up right he thinks Howard and Amir Asik could work together.
In offense, the Rockets should have a killer pick-and-roll with Howard (and he’ll get the ball more on the roll from James Harden than he did from Jameer Nelson back in the day) but it will take more than that.
“You got to have more than a pick-and-roll,” Sampson said. “You got to have a lot more offense. They have more offense with Harden, and (Jeremy) Lin and others guys. They should have a good squad.”
Should be. It’s just a matter of how it comes together.
Kanye West – when he isn’t tweeting to invalidate the claims of dozens of women on nothing more than his own suppositions – is tweeting to Michael Jordan
Mark Parker is CEO of Nike, a company that collaborated with West on the Air Yeezy before an unhappy West bolted for Adidas. Jordan, of course, is a Nike ally and known for the Jumpman logo on his brand.
That’s why Kanye rapped in “Facts:”
Yeezy, Yeezy, Yeezy just jumped over Jumpman
Yeezy, Yeezy, Yeezy just jumped over Jumpman
We bring you the important news.
(hat tip: Jovan Buha of Fox Sports)
Kevin Durant has taken plenty of criticism for his reported interest in signing with the Warriors.
Don’t chase a ring by just bolting for the best team. Build up your own team. Kobe Bryant would never do that.
Kobe Bryant requested a trade from the Lakers in 2007 – when the Cavaliers tried trading everyone but LeBron James for him – and the Bulls were Kobe’s top choice. Kobe had a no-trade clause, so he had some power to choose his next team. The rest of his list?
Kobe, via Brian Windhorst of ESPN:
It was Chicago, San Antonio (or) Phoenix.
The Spurs were reigning NBA champions, and the Suns were coming off a 61-win season. These teams were the class of the league.
They also had strong offensive identities – Gregg Popovich’s ball-movement-happy system in San Antonio and Mike D’Antoni’s up-tempo attack in Phoenix. How would Kobe have fit? Now, that’s a great what-if – especially because both teams had the assets to create intriguing trade packages.
The Spurs could’ve built an offer around Tony Parker and/or Manu Ginobili, the Suns around Shawn Marion and/or Amar’e Stoudemire. Could you imagine Kobe and Tim Duncan or Kobe and Steve Nash in 2007? It wouldn’t have been anything like the over-the-hill version we saw in Los Angeles a few years later.
Of course, Kobe stuck with the Lakers, who traded for Pau Gasol and won a couple more titles. Kobe led them to those championships, and he deserves credit for staying the course.
But, no matter what Durant decides this summer, remember all players consider as many options as they have in front of them. There’s nothing wrong with someone leaving a job for a better one when he has the ability to do so.
Even Kobe – a self-declared “Laker for life” – tried to do it.
The Knicks reportedly believed hiring Derek Fisher made them a contender for Kevin Durant this summer.
If they were right, firing Fisher – a respected former teammate of Durant with the Thunder – certainly didn’t help New York’s ability to lure the superstar in free agency.
Ian Begley of ESPN:
New York faces long odds to land Durant to begin with. And their chances took a hit after Derek Fisher was fired, league sources say.
I suppose it was possible Durant would’ve picked the Knicks, because I don’t believe Durant has decided where he’ll sign. But their odds looked so slim, anyway.
If the Knicks believed Fisher wasn’t the best coach for them, they were right to move on. Keeping him for Durant would have been foolish.
Is there a way New York can gain credibility with Durant? What about hiring former Oklahoma City Thunder coach Scott Brooks?
Brooks is a name to think about, for one reason: The Knicks have been informed that their chances of landing Kevin Durant this summer would be influenced by hiring Brooks, according to league sources.
Begley implies Brooks would help New York sign Durant, but his words don’t explicitly say that.
“Would be influenced.” Positively? Negatively? Won’t the coach of any team Durant considers influence his decision? Durant, while thanking Brooks, quickly and fully got on board with the Thunder’s decision to fire him.
And informed by whom? Do we trust the Knicks to properly assess whether the source of that information is credible?
It’s probably not worth exploring those questions, anyway. Brooks has neither Phil Jackson nor triangle ties, which seem to be perquisites.
At least New York can still use Carmelo Anthony to recruit Durant.
Kobe Bryant requested a trade from the Lakers in 2007, and he later said he preferred to be dealt to the Bulls.
Though Kobe had a no-trade clause, the Lakers explored other options.
They talked with the Mavericks and even agreed to terms with the Pistons, but Kobe vetoed Detroit. The Lakers also spoke with the Cavaliers.
Brian Windhorst of ESPN:
According to multiple sources with direct knowledge of the event, the Lakers once contacted the Cavs to investigate whether Cleveland would make James available in a possible Bryant trade.
The Cavs said that James, indeed, was untouchable, sources said. Then they attempted to make the Lakers a different offer for Bryant, offering anyone else on their team in a package for him. The Lakers had no interest.
For Bryant, who had a no-trade clause in his contract, the answer was simple.
“I never would’ve approved it. Never. The trade to go to Cleveland? Never,” Bryant told Holmes.
This is just as the LeBron-Kobe arguments were kicking into gear. Regardless of which player was better at the time, LeBron – six years younger – was definitely more valuable than Kobe.
So, it’s unsurprising the Lakers asked and even less surprising the Cavaliers said no.
And even less surprising than that was the Lakers rejecting Cleveland’s counter offer. Here were the other Cavaliers during the 2006-07 season:
- Larry Hughes
- Zydrunas Ilgauskas
- Drew Gooden
- Sasha Pavlovic
- Donyell Marshall
- Anderson Varejao
- Damon Jones
- Daniel Gibson
- Eric Snow
- Shannon Brown
- Ira Newble
- David Wesley
- Scot Pollard
- Dwayne Jones
That scrap heap doesn’t come close to Kobe.
The what-if of a LeBron-for-Kobe or Kobe-for-other-Cavs swap is intriguing, but both ideas were non-starters for at least one side. None of that came close to happening.
But, nine years later, that barely makes the discussion less fun.