Plenty of players participate in Pro-Am leagues during the summer, and it’s usually not necessarily newsworthy unless you happen to live in the community where the games are taking place.
But Kevin Durant and Jeff Green returning to play in front of fans in Seattle is a bit more interesting.
Durant and Green began their NBA careers with the Supersonics, each playing their rookie years in Seattle before the team was moved to Oklahoma City following the 2007-08 season.
They’re slated to return this weekend to play in a league hosted by Jamal Crawford.
From Percy Allen of the Seattle Times (via HoopsHype):
The Oklahoma City Thunder superstar and Jeff Green, who starred with Durant during their one season in Seattle, are expected to be the headliners this weekend at the Jamal Crawford Summer Pro-Am.
For a league that bills itself as “All Hoop, No Hype,” promoting the return of the former Sonics goes against the pro-am’s mantra. There’s also no guarantee Durant or Green will show up.
“I’m usually hesitant about making these kinds of announcements until I see guys actually walk into the gym, but Jamal tells me this is a done deal,” said tournament director Rashaad Powell. “The flights are booked. The hotel reservations are set.
“Now we’re just waiting for the show. And it should be a great show.”
It’s true that these types of leagues (like the Drew in Los Angeles) rarely make announcements as to which players will attend, because last-minute things can come up that can force a player to back out of these somewhat unofficial commitments.
But it appears as though Durant and Green will be playing in front of the fans in Seattle in the coming days.
Kobe Bryant‘s pregame tribute video stole the show in Philadelphia, but Tuesday night was Moses Malone tribute night. The former league MVP and Hall of Famer passed away in September, and his legacy was honored by the Sixers during a halftime ceremony. During the festivities, Malone’s son announced that his No. 2 will be retired by the organization next season.
There’s no question that Malone, one of the greatest players in the history of the sport, deserves to have his number retired. The only relevant question is: why didn’t this happen years ago? The ceremony next season should be good, but it would have been better if they had done it when Malone was alive to participate in it. No Sixers player has worn No. 2 since Malone anyway, but it’s been over 20 years since he last wore a Sixers jersey. Why couldn’t they have found some time in those two decades to have a ceremony and hang a banner?
Perhaps LeBron James‘ most underappreciated skill has been his passing. He is rightly hailed as the most unselfish superstar of his generation, but being a willing passer is only part of it: he’s also as good at it as any point guard in the league. Case in point: this two-handed halfcourt bounce pass on Tuesday night, finding Richard Jefferson for an easy dunk:
Kobe Bryant‘s relationship with his hometown of Philadelphia had its rocky sections — the Kobe’s Lakers beat the Sixers in the 2001 Finals, and then Kobe was booed during the 2002 All-Star Game — but all was forgiven on Tuesday night.
In his final trip to Philly, he was given a framed Lower Merion High School jersey — that’s Kobe’s school, in case you forgot — and it was presented by Dr. J.
Then the fans welcomed him like you see above.
That pumped up Kobe, who scored 13 first quarter points on 5-of-10 shooting, his best quarter of the season.
If you play for the Brooklyn Nets, and your name is not Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, expect you will come up in trade rumors this season.
First up on the block, Bojan Bogdanovic. The report comes from Mike Mazzeo of ESPN.
Bogdanovic is in the first year of a three-year, $11 million deal, which isn’t bad for a guy playing nearly 25 minutes a night and scoring 8.4 points per game. There is a lot of potential in his game, if developed in the right setting — he’s a good shooter out on the wing who works well off the ball. He seems to have regressed this season, but how much of that is due to the Nets and their guard play (and just generally struggling) is up for debate.
Is there going to be interest in him? Probably. As always, it is about the price, what the Nets will demand. Whether the Nets can get anything back they want is up for debate.
Right now a lot of GMs are testing the waters for players, judging the market. That is a long way from a trade happening. But don’t be shocked if the Nets make a deal or two before the February deadline.