Anthony Bennett is still recovering from shoulder surgery, but his arm is working well enough to sign his first NBA contract.
The Cavaliers have officially signed Bennett to his rookie deal, which is for four years and a little over $22 million, the team announced.
Bennett was the surprise No. 1 overall pick out of UNLV. He’s a 6’7” power forward who will come off the bench at first behind Anderson Varejao, but who the Cavs see as a starter soon.
The tools he has were never the question — Bennett is long, physically strong and in college was just a beast around the basket. He can get out and run the floor and he can finish with authority (he was one of college basketball’s better dunkers). He’s shown flashes of an outside shot and handles, but those areas need to improve. So will his defense. But all the tools are there.
We did not get to see those tools on display at Summer League or anywhere else since he’s been picked due to shoulder surgery that took place before the draft. Bennett is expected to be ready to go by training camp.
The Cavaliers are Kyrie Irving’s team, and they have the Andrew Bynum sideshow now. But clearly they see Bennett as a big part of their future, and now they have him formally signed.
The release of NBA 2K17, the latest edition of the popular 2K video-game series, is less than a month away. Players are starting to get their likenesses in the game, as well as their player ratings, and tweet them out. Magic forward Evan Fournier wasn’t too happy with the way his came out.
Fournier’s countryman Rudy Gobert got in on the fun, too, changing his Twitter avatar to Fournier’s screenshot and encouraging others to do the same. He even created a hashtag for it.
At least they’re having fun with it.
On Friday, the Jazz traded German center Tibor Pleiss to the Sixers along with two second-round picks for Kendall Marshall. The big draw of the trade for Philly was the picks, and Pleiss is not expected to stay with the Sixers, according to Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia’s Jessica Camerato.
Pleiss had a forgettable season with Utah, and the Sixers have a glut of bigs including Nerlens Noel, Jahlil Okafor, Joel Embiid and Dario Saric. It would have been virtually impossible for Pleiss to crack the rotation, and it’s unlikely another team picks up his contract, which has $3 million guaranteed this season.
As a Jordan Brand athlete, Russell Westbrook is under the same Nike umbrella as former teammate Kevin Durant. But his latest Jordan spot, released Friday, has a very pointed tagline: “Some run, some make runways.”
Given the circumstances, it’s hard to interpret that as anything other than a reference to Durant signing with the Warriors and Westbrook signing an extension with the Thunder.
For two decades, Kobe Bryant saw everyone and everything as an obstacle to overcome: The Pacers, Sixers, Nets, Magic, Celtics, Tim Duncan, Gregg Popovich, Smush Parker, a torn Achilles. It didn’t matter. Kobe’s work ethic and drive had him rising above it all.
His focus hasn’t changed now. Kobe was on the Jim Rome show, and the topic of the new-look Warriors with Kevin Durant came up, along with the “woe is me” attitude of some players (and plenty of owners and GMs).
“I would have thought less about myself if I looked at that move and said, ‘That’s unfair,'” he said. “If you’re a real competitor, you look at that and say, ‘OK, lace ’em up. Let’s go. I don’t care how many players you have over there; we’re still going to take you down.'”
Easier said than done to make that happen, but that attitude is the only one to have if you think you have a chance. You can be sure LeBron James is thinking that way and telling his Cavaliers teammates the same.
We’re going to miss Kobe.