If the Lakers were going to make a run to the playoffs once Kobe Bryant returns from injury, Steve Blake would have played a key role. A quality outside shooter who competes defensively, Blake added to that roster.
Of course, the Lakers were never going to make the playoffs this season.
That’s why they traded Blake to the Warriors for salary relief and younger players. Smart general managers identify their position, even if it’s dismal, and react to it.
But Kobe Bryant isn’t a general manager. He’s a player who sees things differently, who views moves through the eyes of a competitor who never gives up.
This can be read a number of ways, and “Kobe’s mad” has been a popular interpretation. I don’t see it that way, though. I think this is just his way of expressing his respect for Blake.
The Lakers gave Kobe a generous extension, and while that doesn’t obligate him to agree with every move they make, I sense he’s willing to go along with the plan. The Lakers are doing this for Kobe. They’re better-positioning themselves to contend in the next two seasons.
Kobe will miss Blake, as he should. But the Lakers are better off, and I suspect Kobe knows that too – even if his 140-character goodbyes carry a conflictive tone.
On Monday, Dion Waiters agreed to a one-year, $2.9 million deal with the Heat, far less than most people thought he would get as one of the few significant free agents still on the market. Tuesday afternoon, he posted an explanation on Instagram for his deal.
Here’s what he said:
I didn’t do it for the money… I did it for the opportunity to go out & ball & have fun. Everything else will take care of its self!!! I just felt like it was the best situation for me…& my family. I could have waited & got wat I wanted. But I rather be happy then miserable at the end of the day!!! Meaning Yu can have everything & still not be happy… #heatnation let’s get it!!! #provethemwrong #stamped #Philly
It seems clear, based on the market, that the kinds of offers Waiters was hoping for weren’t out there for him. In Miami, with Dwyane Wade gone, he’ll probably start at shooting guard and have plenty of opportunities to prove himself in hopes of landing a long-term deal next summer.
While we wait for the Celtics to make a bigger move to trade for another star, they’re filling out the end of their roster. Sheridan Hoops’ Michael Scotto is reporting that they’ve signed Demetrius Jackson, the No. 45 pick in last month’s draft, to a four-year deal.
Jackson declared for the draft after his junior season at Notre Dame. Talent-wise, he has the chance to be a major steal for Boston — DraftExpress has him ranked as the 17th-best overall prospect in this year’s draft class. But he might not play much his first year. The Celtics’ roster is already crowded and there’s still the chance that they’ll make another move with some of their much-vaunted assets if the right star becomes available.
ATLANTA (AP) — The Atlanta Hawks have signed undrafted rookie free agent center Matt Costello of Michigan State.
The 6-foot-9, 245-pound Costello averaged 5.7 points and 5 rebounds on the Hawks’ summer league team in Las Vegas.
Costello averaged 10.7 points and 8.2 rebounds as a senior at Michigan State. He holds the school’s career record with 146 blocked shots.
Terms of the deal were not released.
Jamal Crawford knows how to get buckets.
He does it against NBA level defenders, so put him in a free-flowing pro-am — let’s say the Seattle pro-am in his hometown — and he barely breaks a sweat dropping 44. And nailing the game winner.
Doc Rivers hopes to see a lot of that next season.