Now is the time of year when draft rumors abound, from ridiculous trade ideas (see the ‘Melo/Love to Boston rumors for example 1A) to teams throwing out smokescreens. All of which is to say, take your rumors with a grain or five of salt.
That said, the buzz from most around the league is there will be a lot of trades around the draft this year. After a quiet trade deadline a lot of teams are more willing to make moves.
That means a lot of rumors are floating around. For example, that the Philadelphia 76ers — already with the No. 3 pick — want to move up higher in the draft. The Bulls want to move up, too.
All that according to Chad Ford of ESPN in his latest mock draft ($$). (I first saw the story at CSN Philly.)
The Sixers actually have engaged the Cavs about moving to No. 1. They aren’t willing to give up both the Nos. 3 and 10 picks. But a combination of No. 3 and Thaddeus Young is a possibility. And it’s a great scenario for Wiggins, as well. Of the three top teams, his camp prefers the Sixers as the best possible fit. This could be a win-win for both.
The Bulls have been trying to move up in the draft to get an elite shooter. Their target has been Denver with an offer of the 16th and 19th pick for 11. If they get there, Gary Harris or Nik Stauskas will be the guy with them likely leaning toward Stauskas.
While you should take all that with the aforementioned salt, we should note the Philadelphia Inquirer is reporting the Sixers are looking to move Thaddeus Young. They shopped him around at the deadline but didn’t get an offer they liked, so he was stuck on a tanking team. He wants out. The Sixers will move him but want some decent value back.
Still, lots of questions about these rumors.
Are the Sixers that sold on Wiggins? If so, and if they believe Cleveland will take him, then that is a good trade for them. But it only works if the Cavaliers are not as sold on Wiggins and think the guy they really want (Jarbari Parker or Joel Embiid) would fall to No. 3. Young would be a good fit for the Cavs, but he has an early termination after next season so, much like Luol Deng, the Cavaliers would have to persuade him to stay. How much are they willing to really give up for that?
The Bulls are looking everywhere for more shooting, the draft is part of that search.
Kobe Bryant announced his retirement in a letter called “Dear Basketball,” which was made into a short film.
Now, on the day the Lakers retire his Nos. 8 and 24, you can watch it. It’s quite beautiful:
Kobe Bryant’s career truly occurred in two acts.
He was Shaquille O’Neal’s super sidekick for three championships. Then, Kobe led the Lakers to another two titles himself after Shaq departed.
He was an athletic, high-flying slam-dunk-contest champion. Then, he became known for his cerebral play and footwork.
He faced trial for rape in Colorado (the case was ultimately dismissed, and he settled civilly), blame for Shaq getting traded and criticism for being too selfish when the Lakers struggled in the aftermath of Shaq’s departure. Then, Kobe – still beloved by his fans – again became a socially acceptable marketing force.
His 2007 trade request serves as the more accurate intermission point, but his 2006 jersey change from No. 8 to No. 24 works well enough. He had a Hall of Fame career in No. 8 then a borderline Hall of Fame career in No. 24. Think Tracy Mcgrady’s career followed by Bernard King’s – but it was just Kobe followed by Kobe and with far more postseason success.
Here are the win-share leaders with a single franchise during Kobe’s career:
So much about Kobe is excessive – his accolades, his shot selection, his reputation as clutch. He had an all-time great career, but the myth outpaces reality.
Yet, Kobe becoming the first player with two numbers retired by the same team – which the Lakers will do at halftime tonight – feels incredibly appropriate. In his 20-year career with the Lakers, Kobe had time to succeed then succeed again in an extravagant way only he could manage.
He was dedicated and disciplined, flashy and fastidious, No. 8 and No. 24
The Lakers will retire Kobe Bryant’s No. 8 and No. 24 at halftime of their game against Warriors tonight.
The road team won’t miss it. The home team might.
Golden State coach Steve Kerr, via Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area:
“I want our guys to see it,” Kerr said Saturday. “It’ll be a pretty cool moment.
“Just to experience of one of the greatest players in the history of the game getting his jersey retired and we happen to be there? I’m not going to keep them in the locker room watching tape from the first half. The players would look at me like I was nuts.”
Lakers coach Luke Walton, via Harrison Faigen of Lakers Nation:
“I hadn’t thought much about [watching the ceremony],” Walton said Sunday. “We’re still deciding how we’ll approach halftime.
“Our first priority is still the job that we have. I’m sure there’s going to be some halftime adjustments we need to make against the Warriors. We’re toying with a couple different ideas to let guys at least see part of it.”
Kerr seems like a pretty cool guy, someone who understands what truly matters. This will be a historic moment, and that can take priority over watching video for one night in a long season.
But he also has the luxury of coaching an all-time great team. Even with Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, Zaza Pachulia and Shaun Livingston injured, the Warriors are favored.
Walton has a young team that needs every break it can get. But he too should embrace the significance of the ceremony. His franchise is.
After reportedly initially being scheduled for pregame, the ceremony will occur at halftime. The NBA implemented a hard 15-minute limit on halftimes this season. Any team not ready will be assessed a delay-of-game penalty. So, lengthy speeches tonight could hinder the current team on the court. And that’s well worth the cost of doing business.
In the same regard, current Lakers watching Kobe’s ceremony would gain pride in being a Laker. There’s real value in that, probably more than in going over adjustments for a December game during a season very likely to end outside the playoffs regardless.
I bet this made George Hill happier.
The Kings still losing to the Raptors, 108-93, probably didn’t, though.