Cleveland Cavaliers v San Antonio Spurs

It’s Anthony Bennett’s turn to dodge questions about Kevin Love/Andrew Wiggins trade


By the start of next week, Anthony Bennett will almost certainly be a member of the Philadelphia 76ers. As part of a three-team trade going down this weekend that will land Kevin Love next to LeBron James in Cleveland, Bennett will wind up next to Michael Carter-Williams and Nerlens Noel in Philly.

The few times Andrew Wiggins has been asked about the pending trade he has handled it as well as you could ask a 19-year-old rookie to, saying he just wants to play and he understands the NBA is a business. Would he like to have played next to LeBron? Of course. But life takes its own path sometimes.

Now it was Anthony Bennett’s turn.

He was in Canada working out for a Team Americas tournament and said all the right things when asked about the trade by Gregory Strong of the Toronto Star.

“I’m just a young man that’s ready to work,” he said. “Wherever I end up, it doesn’t really matter to me. I just want to play basketball.”

It’s the only think he can say.

Bennett had a rough rookie season where he played as poorly as any No. 1 pick in history. Make no mistake, it was as ugly as his shot. However he showed up to Summer League in Las Vegas this year in shape and healthy, and with that came a much better performance. He looked like an NBA player, defending and hitting the boards hard. He looked like a rotation big on an NBA team, a guy you could play 15 minutes a night, which is a big step forward for him. In Philly Bennett could get a lot of run and have the chance to show some of that potential — he’s never going to live up to the No. 1 pick hype, but he can stick around in the NBA for a while.

After that up and down rookie year, does Bennett have any advice for Wiggins? The two have talked Bennett, said.

“Pretty much I just told him to work hard,” he said. “Just try not to listen to everybody. You can have one bad game, you can have one real good game. But you know, it’s just a long season full of ups and downs.”

Spurs to give Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili Friday night off in Denver

Manu Ginobili, Harrison Barnes, Tim Duncan
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The Spurs are 12-3 and comfortably in second place in the West, they have the best defense in the NBA allowing just 93.8 points per 100 possessions, and they have a top-10 offense to go with it.

So, time to start making sure guys are rested.

That is the first night of a back-to-back, with former Spurs’ assistant coach Mike Budenholzer and his Atlanta Hawks coming to San Antonio on Saturday. Popovich is saving his two veterans for that game.

Duncan and Ginobili have looked like they found the fountain of youth this season. Duncan is taking on less of the offense but has been very efficient in those moments. Ginobili has the impact he did a few years back in his bench role.

What Gregg Popovich cares about is them playing like that come the postseason. So they will rest on Friday.

Brandon Armstrong impersonates Ray Allen (video)

2014 NBA Finals - Game Five
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Ray Allen is retired-ish, but he’ll always be running through screens – in our mind and in this video.

Celtics draft pick Marcus Thornton gets beer dumped on head during Australian game (video)

Marcus Thornton, Will Cherry

The Celtics drafted Marcus Thornton with No. 45 pick in the 2015 NBA draft. That essentially entitled him to the required tender – a one-year contract offer, surely unguaranteed at the minimum.

Thornton rejected that, which is almost always a mistake.

Rejecting the tender is a favor to the drafting team, which gets to keep the player’s exclusive rights for a year. If Thornton tries to join the NBA now, he’s stuck negotiating with only the Celtics.

By accepting the tender, the player typically gets one of two outcomes. He either plays on that contract and draws an NBA salary or he gets waived. But even getting waived is better than rejecting the tender, because at least the player becomes a free agent and can negotiate with any team.

Players who reject the tender go to another league and play for less money. In Thornton’s case, that mean Australia.

How’s that going?

(Almost) never reject the required tender as a second-round pick.

Byron Scott says they just have to get Kobe Bryant better looks

Kobe Bryant, Joe Johnson, Byron Scott

Kobe Bryant is averaging 15.2 points a game at age 37. It’s just taking him 16.4 shots per game to get there. After his 1-of-14 shooting performance against the Warriors the other night — with too much isolation and too many plays run just for him — there has been a lot of talk about his shot. With reason, this is his shot chart so far this season.

Kobe shotchart season

So what do the Lakers’ do? Get Kobe to shoot less and get the ball in the hands of the young stars they supposed to be developing more? Nah.

They just need to get Kobe better looks, Scott told the Los Angeles Times.

“I know his mentality is that he can still play in this league,” Scott said. “And we feel the same way….

“Obviously he’s struggling right now with his shot, and I think everybody can see that,” Scott said. “So it’s trying to get him in better position to be able to have an opportunity to knock those shots down on a consistent basis. That’s No. 1.

“I don’t know if it’s his legs. I don’t think so. Again, our conversations are pretty blunt. … He tells me when he is tired and he tells me when he’s not tired. And the last few days, he said he feels great. So, I don’t think it’s a matter of him being tired or his legs being tired. I think it’s a matter of his timing being a little off.”

Yes, how could it be his legs? It’s not like he’s a 37-year-old with more than 55,000 NBA minutes played, and coming off an Achilles rupture and major knee surgery.

Honestly, I hope the Lakers and Kobe find a balance soon, because they have become just hard to watch. And I don’t want Kobe to go out this way.