This is a punch to the gut. For the Lakers. And For Kobe Bryant.
Kobe will be out six weeks with a fracture of the lateral tibial plateau in his left knee, the Lakers announced. That is the basically the flat part of the top of the shin where it connects to the bottom of the knee. It apparently does not need surgery.
Kobe had been back just six games following Achilles surgery on his left leg earlier this year.
This would mean a return likely around early February, maybe a little later (Kobe needs to give the bone time to heal then get his conditioning back up to get on the court).
The injury occurred against the Memphis Grizzlies, likely on a play where there was contact with Tony Allen as they fought for position (there was not any intent to injure, it should be noted). Immediately Kobe was grabbing his knee and clearly in pain after the play but he stayed in the game. Because he’s Kobe.
This is the same leg where he had his Achilles surgery. As so often happens in sports, especially with older athletes, an injury in one area leads to compensation and eventually issues in another area. It’s not that he came back too early, it just the way the body compensates for injuries.
In the short term this leaves the Lakers without a real point guard — Kobe joins Steve Blake, Steve Nash and Jordan Farmar all out with injuries. Farmar is the closest to return, he will be re-evaluated Dec. 24 and could potentially return Christmas Day against the Heat.
Long-term, the Lakers have to consider if they want to shed some talent — hello Pau Gasol — and essentially look at the lottery for this season. Without Kobe for another 20 plus games the Lakers are going to slip out of playoff contention in the West. That said, any moves the Lakers make would not impact their cap space the next two summers — they want the ability to be active in the free agent market.
Klay Thompson has an amazing skill set — one of the best pure shooters in the league, he can put the ball on the floor and create, and he’s a very good perimeter defender.
He’s not a dunker. Oh, he can dunk, but he’s not the guy you’re inviting to the Dunk Contest.
Case in point, this video out of China where Thompson was part of an exhibition and tried to show off his dunking skills.
Thompson’s shoe sponsor is China-based Anta, which explains why he’s there playing some exhibition ball. In case you missed it, Thompson had a Finals shoe released.
Those are about as good as the 360 dunk.
Could Joel Embiid be Philadelphia’s Stephen Curry?
No, I don’t mean taking 30-foot bombs that demoralize opponents (although, no doubt Embiid is game for trying it). I mean in having a contract extension off his rookie deal for less than the max, a value contract that allows the Sixers the cap room to secure a title contender around him.
After three seasons in the NBA, Joel Embiid is eligible for a contract extension this summer (one that would be negotiated now but not kick in until the 2018-19 season). Teams lock up their stars at this point, and Embiid is that — he was dominant in the 31 games he played. But it’s 31 games in three seasons, how much do the Sixers want to pay here?
Sixers owner Joshua Harris said extending Embiid is a priority for the team this summer, speaking at a press conference, via the Courier Times.
“Look, I’d just say we want Joel to be on the team for a long time,” Harris said. “We want us all to grow old together. That’s the way I would put it.”
A max contract for Embiid would be five years at about $130 million, an average annual salary of $26 million. Because of his injury history, would he be willing to sign five years at $100 million, maybe with an opt-out after four? That extra cap space may not sound like a lot, it’s not a Curry-level savings, but it would help the Sixers’ team building.
If the two sides can’t reach a deal by Oct. 31 (the deadline), Embiid will play out this season then be a restricted free agent next season. If he stays healthy, he will get a max deal from another team that the Sixers would just match (the Sixers and Embiid could also reach a deal).
The Sixers are not about to let Embiid go, they have their young core they believe they can contend with in a few years. Plus he is a fan favorite. The only question left is cost.
Josh Jackson is not going Bo Jackson on us and playing baseball in the offseason.
The highly-rated forward out of Kansas who was the No. 4 pick of the Phoenix Suns was invited to throw out the first pitch before Friday night’s Diamondbacks game.
To quote Bob Uecker, he was just a bit outside. He tried the corner and missed.
Lonzo Ball was able to make his first pitch, ergo, he will turn out to be a much better NBA player. Obviously, these skills correlate.
This is a Mark Cuban owned team, you don’t think the Mavericks are going to make a serious run at a free agent come July 1? Pelicans’ point guard Jrue Holiday has long been known to be a target, but there will be others.
But keeping their new core together, including restricted free agent Nerlens Noel, is the top priority, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.
Rumors like this are out there in part from Dallas to hope to chill the market for Noel. While he could be a defensive force who provides some scoring around the rim, with Noel’s injury history they may be able to get him at less than max money — because if he’s at the max the Mavericks are flirting with the luxury tax (and Cuban isn’t going to want to pay the tax for a borderline playoff team at best).
What Dallas fears is what Brooklyn did last season to Allen Crabbe in Portland and Tyler Johnson in Miami — some team to come in with a max or near-max offer sheet that drives up the price. Dallas will match, they will keep the young core together, it just gets more expensive.
Next season in Dallas will be a deserved big farewell to Dirk Nowitzki. He will be the focus, but behind him Dallas will try to be building for the future. They made the trade deadline move to make sure Noel is a part of that, the only question now is how much it costs them.