Kurt Helin

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Nike introduces Kobe 11, his last shoe as active player

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Few NBA players obsess over the details and are as involved in the design of their signature shoes as Kobe Bryant. The attention to detail Kobe put in his game — polishing his footwork, watching endless hours of film — he has put into his shoes.

The new Kobe 11s — which hit stores Jan. 9 — are no different. They are all about innovation, and what Kobe wants in his shoe. From the official Nike press release.:

At first glance, the low-top and simplified silhouette appears familiar. One could be fooled into believing that they’ve seen this before. Wrong. Look closer. See those pearlescent fibers? Those are thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) threads, an indication of progression; and, despite their subtlety, an announcement of the arrival of an evolution, a stronger iteration of Nike Flyknit.

Details matter.

Fittingly, this progressive technology debuts on the KOBE 11, underscoring the dedication to innovation that has cemented Kobe Bryant’s design legacy, one that rivals, if not extends, the champion’s on-court perfectionism.

They look tight. And you know Nike and Kobe are going to sell a lot of them.

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The time Stephen Curry, Drake went to In-n-Out

TORONTO, ON - DECEMBER 5:  Drake and Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors after the game against the Toronto Raptors on December 5, 2015 at Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2015 NBAE (Photo by Dave Sandford/NBAE via Getty Images)
Getty images
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First thing to point out here: Notice they went to In-n-Out. Not Five Guys. There’s a reason for that — In-n-Out is better.

After the Golden State Warriors returned to form and throttled the Phoenix Suns Wednesday night — with Drake sitting courtside watching — Stephen Curry decided to go for some late night nosh. His wife came along. So did Drake — remember he dropped Curry’s name in “0 to 100,” so you’ve got to invite him. They all went to In-n-Out.

Did Drake order his double-double animal style?

If you’re a fan of Drake and/or The Weeknd, wait until All-Star Weekend in Toronto. They will be everywhere.

Why the Miami Heat are not likely to move Hassan Whiteside

Hassan Whiteside, Dwyane Wade, Kendrick Perkins
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It’s not going to be easy for the Miami Heat to keep Hassan Whiteside next summer. He’s an unrestricted free agent, as is Dwyane Wade, and paying both what they will ask becomes a serious challenge. Plus, how much will the Heat pay a guy they need to sit for critical stretches of the fourth quarter?

Normally, this would mean that the Heat would be looking to trade him, or, at least, be considering it. And Whiteside’s name has come up in rumors about DeMarcus Cousins and Dwight Howard deals.

Don’t bet on it. The money doesn’t come close to working out. Ethan Skolnick laid it out beautifully at the Miami Herald (hat tip Eye on Basketball).

Whiteside’s contract is virtually worthless to another team. That doesn’t mean Whiteside is worthless. His skill set is worth plenty, even in a smallball era. But he’s making just $981,348 this season, and he will be a free agent as soon as the season ends. Miami cannot sign him to an extension now and, unless he’s willing to take a mid-level deal (he won’t be), the Heat will need to use cap space to re-sign him because it doesn’t have Bird Rights on him….

But here’s the thing about the Heat not having Bird Rights: Neither would any team that acquires him.

That means there is virtually no advantage to acquiring him now. He’s simply headed back into the free agent pool at the end of the season, when every team will have a chance to pitch him. The only potential edge you get in getting him early is that you can get him acclimated to your system, and try to show him it’s the perfect place for him to spend his future. In other words, exactly the same situation the Heat is in now with him. But that doesn’t seem like very solid ground, not solid enough to deal a real asset for him.

Skolnick says the Heat are “amused” by the trade rumors because they know a deal is highly unlikely.

As for the two big rumors out there, Howard makes $22.3 million and Cousins $15.8 million this season. Again, Whiteside makes less than $1 million. To do those deals means the Heat have to send a lot of salary out, cutting deep into their rosters. (The Kings aren’t going to move Cousins’ anyway, but that’s another discussion.)

And both teams would demand Justise Winslow in the deal as well.

All of which is to say, it’s not that a Whiteside deal is impossible, but it’s not likely. He probably ends the season with the Heat.

Report: Carlos Boozer met with Bucks, could sign deal

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At some point this season, some team was going to reach out and sign Carlos Boozer to a deal. If in the office pool you had the Milwaukee Bucks just before Christmas, you may be the winner. (Also, if your office had a pool on Carlos Boozer’s landing spot, your workplace has a serious gambling problem.)

Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports reports that Boozer and the Bucks’ brass have been talking.

Boozer had a positive meeting with Bucks coach Jason Kidd and general manager John Hammond in Los Angeles, sources said. Milwaukee suffered consecutive double-digit losses to the Lakers and Clippers this week.

Bucks center Greg Monroe remains sidelined because of a sprained MCL in his right knee, and the team has lacked reserve frontcourt contributions aside from John Henson.

Boozer can still help the Bucks on offense — he averaged 11.8 points a game while shooting 49.9 percent, and pulled down 6.8 rebounds a night last season for the Lakers. His PER of 16.8 is above the league average. He is still a pick-and-pop threat with the physical strength to play inside. However, he is a mess defensively. He will hurt the Bucks on that end of the floor.

If this is a short-term, non-guaranteed deal, I get it; and even if it’s for longer than that if it’s at the league minimum it’s not terrible.

But if the Bucks are leaning on him for more than 15 minutes a night for very long, that’s a bad sign.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr hopes to return in 2-3 weeks

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Associated Press
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OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr is feeling better as he deals with complications from back surgery, and hopes to be back on the bench in the coming weeks.

Kerr attended practice Monday and Tuesday and was at the team’s shootaround Wednesday ahead of Golden State’s home game against Phoenix.

He says: “What I’ve learned is that I miss it. I’m still hoping in the next two to three weeks to be back on the bench.”

Golden State has given no formal timeline for the coach’s return, reiterating Kerr will tell the team when he is ready.

Kerr has been dealing with headaches following two back surgeries. He took a leave of absence the first week of training camp and watched the Warriors’ record 24-0 start behind the scenes. Golden State (24-1) is coming off its first defeat Saturday at Milwaukee.