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76ers’ Jerry Colangelo on Lonzo Ball: ‘It’s going to be challenging with the people around him’

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The Lakers are rumored to be far less than sold on Lonzo Ball as the No. 2 pick. That might explain why Ball is considering working out for the 76ers, who pick No. 3.

But Philadelphia apparently sees complications with the UCLA point guard.

76ers special advisor Jerry Colangelo, father of 76ers general manager Bryan Colangelo, on 94 WIP, as transcribed by Joe Bloss of CSN Philly:

“I think Ball is a terrific prospect and could have an outstanding NBA future,” Colangelo said. “I think it’s going to be challenging with the people around him without being specific, and yet I don’t think teams should bypass the player because they have those concerns. I think at the end of the day what wins in this league is talent and this is a very talented young man.”

Jerry Colangelo is, of course, talking about Lonzo’s father, LaVar Ball. LaVar Ball has chased and gotten attention by being an outlandish loudmouth. Unlike NBA commissioner Adam Silver, I expect that continue after Lonzo Ball gets drafted – which will be challenging for Lonzo Ball’s team.

Jerry Colangelo is the first team executive to affirm that sentiment on the record. But his statement is in line with the consensus – LaVar Ball isn’t ideal for teams, but he won’t affect Lonzo Ball’s draft stock. Other executives, like Lakers president Magic Johnson, have just glossed over the first part publicly.

So, credit Jerry Colangelo for his honesty about an obvious reality. I just wonder whether that will affect Philadelphia’s ability to work out Lonzo Ball.

Friday afternoon fun: Watch James Harden’s 10 best plays from last season

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James Harden had a historic season in Houston.

Since it’s Friday afternoon and your sports viewing options consist of watching guys about to be cut from NFL rosters try to impress, why not check out Harden’s best plays from last season. It’s worth a couple minutes of your time.

Mavericks sign Jeff Withey to one-year contract

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Jeff Withey‘s ex-fiancée accused him of domestic violence, but he was not charged.

That frees him to continue his basketball career, which he’ll do in Dallas.

Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:

The Mavericks could use another center, even if they re-sign Nerlens Noel. Salah Mejri is the only other true center, though Dirk Nowitzki will now play the position.

Withey is a good rim protector. Just don’t ask him to do anything away from the basket.

Dallas annually brings excess players to training camp and has them compete for regular-season roster spots. Whether or not his salary is guaranteed, Withey will likely fall into that competition.

Marc Gasol: If Grizzlies don’t share my goal of continued growth, we might have to revisit things

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The Grizzlies’ Grit & Grind era has ended.

Zach Randolph signed with the Kings, and Tony Allen appears likely to leave Memphis, too. The Grizzlies are prioritizing younger/cheaper players like Ben McLemore and Tyreke Evans.

Marc Gasol via Ala Carta, as translated by HoopsHype:

I’m very ambitious and I’ve wanted Memphis to be a great franchise. We’ve grown a lot the last 6-7 years, but we have to keep growing. If this is not lined up, maybe we may have to revisit things.

Gasol has been loyal to Memphis, and his first wish is probably winning there. But Giannis Antetokounmpo put it well: Teams must also do right by their players. Gasol is 32 and doesn’t have much time in his prime left. I see why rebuilding wouldn’t interest him.

But what will he do about it if the Grizzlies don’t prioritize the present? They made their push last summer with a max contract for Chandler Parsons, but because Parsons can’t stay healthy, that deal only inhibits team growth.

Gasol is locked up for two more years before a player option. He doesn’t have much leverage. This is part of the reason LeBron James keeps signing short-term contracts. Gasol doesn’t have the same ability to steer his team in his desired direction

On the potentially bright side, rebuilding teams often don’t have much use for 32-year-olds guaranteed more than $72 million over the following three years. If the fit devolves, Memphis becomes more likely to trade him.

Celtics to retire Paul Pierce’s number after Cavaliers game in February

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The Celtics already said they’d retire Paul Pierce’s No. 34.

Now, we know when.

Celtics release:

The Boston Celtics announced today that they will retire Paul Pierce’s No. 34 after a mid-season game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday, Feb. 11

After? That’s apparently in response to a new rule that penalizes teams not ready to play after a 15-minute halftime. These ceremonies can drag on, and nobody wants to cut Pierce short. I wonder whether this will start a trend of number retirements coming after games.