The news broke a few days ago that Kobe Bryant was once again heading to Germany to receive a special treatment on his knee in order to help him be as right as possible whenever his rehab from a torn Achilles allows him to return to the court at some point this season.
Bryant’s every move is scrutinized, and this latest one is no exception. But a report about the details surrounding his departure is likely to raise more eyebrows than usual.
From Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News:
Still recovering from his torn Achilles last April, Bryant has yet to be cleared to run or jump by the Lakers. His return date to the team for game action is unknown. The team said he went to Germany for treatment unrelated to the Achilles injury. Interestingly, he didn’t tell Mike D’Antoni that he was leaving, choosing to notify the team’s long-time trainer, Gary Vitti, instead.
“Kobe not telling Mike D’Antoni tells you something about what Kobe thinks of coaches, and also Mike’s status,’’ said one NBA head coach. “Now if that were Phil Jackson, I would think Kobe would have told him he was going.’’
It was well-chronicled last season how D’Antoni couldn’t control Bryant’s wish to play heavy minutes late in the year, and this latest report would seem to further the speculation that Kobe will do whatever he wants, with or without D’Antoni’s permission.
But quite honestly, none of us have any idea about the inner workings of the Lakers franchise, or how frequently Kobe and D’Antoni communicate outside of scheduled practices or games, if at all.
This could very well be standard operating procedure as far as Kobe and the Lakers go, but those who want to read drama into a situation where none exists will choose to do so, no matter the circumstances.
The second round was supposed to be when things got exciting. Instead, the San Antonio Spurs put on an absolute clinic at home, blowing out the Oklahoma City Thunder, 124-92 to take a 1-0 series lead.
Just about everything went in for San Antonio, particularly for LaMarcus Aldridge and Kawhi Leonard, who combined for 63 points. How dominant were they?
Aldridge in particular got anything he wanted against the Thunder. Oklahoma City’s stars were quiet, with Kevin Durant scoring just 16 points and Russell Westbrook 14. San Antonio controlled the game from the start and Oklahoma City never recovered from the opening punch.
It’s hard to imagine Durant and Westbrook are this ineffective again, and hopefully the rest of this series will be a little more competitive. But the Spurs did what the Spurs do, and did nothing to shake the feeling that they’re the favorites to win the west, now that Stephen Curry‘s status is unknown.
ATLANTA (AP) A year ago, Atlanta’s magical season ended with a resounding sweep by Cleveland in the Eastern Conference final.
Now, the Hawks have another shot at LeBron James and the Cavaliers.
Feeling confident after an opening-round victory over Boston, the Hawks returned to practice Saturday to begin preparations for the best-of-seven series.
Game 1 is Monday night in Cleveland.
The Hawks were the top-seeded team in the East last season after a record 60-win campaign. It didn’t do them much good against the Cavaliers, who steamrolled Atlanta in four straight games.
Even though they slipped to 48 wins and fourth in the conference, the Hawks actually sound a bit more confident heading into this matchup, largely because of their improved defense and rebounding.
For the second consecutive year, the Warriors have lost their lead assistant to another team. When the Pelicans hired Alvin Gentry during last year’s playoffs, Steve Kerr promoted Luke Walton to associate head coach and added former journeyman big man Jarron Collins to the bench. Now that Walton is headed to the Lakers as their next head coach, the Warriors will go outside the organization to find a replacement, according to ESPN.com’s Marc Stein. And one name that will likely not be in the mix is David Blatt, who very nearly became an assistant under Kerr in 2014 before being offered the Cavaliers’ head job.
Given Walton’s success this season as interim head coach while Kerr recovered from back surgery, this will undoubtedly be the most attractive assistant job in the league.
In the last few years, NBA head coaching salaries have skyrocketed, and new Lakers coach Luke Walton is no exception. According to the Los Angeles Times‘ Mike Bresnahan, Walton is getting $25 million over five years, which is the same as Steve Kerr’s deal with the Warriors, now-former Knicks coach Derek Fisher’s deal in New York, and Fred Hoiberg’s deal with the Bulls.
This kind of money has become standard for head coaches who don’t also have front-office power. Tom Thibodeau and Stan Van Gundy both get between $7 and $8 million annually to do both jobs. Given how good Walton’s current situation with the Warriors is, the Lakers probably had to be on the high end of the coaching spectrum to get him to leave.