Kurt Helin

LeBron James passes Dominique Wilkins for 12th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list


LeBron James has rocketed up the NBA’s all-time scoring list this season, passing the likes of John Havlicek, Kevin Garnett, Tim Duncan… and now you can add Dominique Wilkins to the list.

LeBron is now 12th on the all-time list. Oscar Robertson is next and LeBron should move past him before the season ends, he entered tonight just 45 points back of The Big O.

It’s official: DeMarcus Cousins suspended for Friday’s game after 16th technical

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With six seconds left in a comfortable Kings win Wednesday night, DeMarcus Cousins wasn’t done expressing his displeasure to the referees — after a foul call Cousins and Rajon Rondo gave the official some lengthy mocking applause for finally making the right call.  They both got a technical for it.

Did it deserve one? Not on its own, but if this built up throughout the game and the players had been to cut it out, then Cousins crossed the line.

Kings fans can argue that all they want, the point is moot — that is Cousins’ 16th technical of the season and with that he is suspended one game, the league announced Thursday. Cousins will sit out Friday when the Kings host the Heat.

That was an expensive technical for Cousins, as our own Dan Feldman pointed out it costs the All-Star center $149,108 – $5,000 for the technical and $144,108 for the docked game pay. Ouch.

Ben Simmons is not getting a LeBron level rookie shoe deal. Because he’s not LeBron.

Ben Simmons
Associated Press

“The hype that Ben Simmons had entering this season was totally unfair. He was compared to LeBron James and Magic Johnson, which was insane. No 19 year old should ever be compared to two of the greatest basketball players that have ever lived. And frankly, what he’s doing this season isn’t all that different from what he did throughout his high school and international career. He’s never been able to shoot, he’s always wanted to be a point guard, he’s never had much of an interest in being a defensive menace, he’s always had short arms.”
Rob Dauster of NBC’s CollegeBasketballTalk, for PBT


Ben Simmons is not LeBron James.

And he’s not going to get paid like LeBron, at least in his rookie shoe deal.

Simmons is still the likely No. 1 pick in what is considered a down draft (depending on which team lands the top pick Duke’s Brandon Ingram could be in play). But because of his unique skill set as a point forward, and because of his ceiling, the hype for Simmons got out of control for a while. Scouts said he was a guy worth tanking for, and fans ran with that idea. Upon closer inspection Simmons has fantastic potential but a world of questions about if he can reach that high, and if he wants to put in the work to do so.

Combine that with economic forces at play, and it means Simmons rookie shoe deal is not going to be a LeBron-like $100 million, something Nick DePaula laid out at The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.

Baltimore-based Under Armour isn’t in the running for Simmons and is instead focused on spending its resources expanding reigning MVP Stephen Curry‘s shoe line as it continues to establish its footwear business. Simmons also is not looking for a shoe deal with a Chinese-based company.

That leaves just two brands for (Simmons’ agent Rich) Paul and Klutch Sports to create a bidding war for Simmons: Nike and adidas….

The idea that a sneaker brand will offer Simmons anywhere near $100 million is out of the question. A more realistic range is believed to be between what former top picks Andrew Wiggins (five years, $11 million with adidas) and John Wall (five years, $25 million with Reebok) each received on their rookie shoe deals. Both deals included several rollback and incentive clauses, which is the industry standard.

In contrast, LeBron had Nike, adidas and Reebok all at the table with serious bids, and when supply outweighs demand people get paid. That ended up being a good deal for Nike, which has done well with the LeBron signature shoe line and has given the man a lifetime contract.

Simmons is going to have to earn those deals with his play on the court.

Report: Carmelo Anthony tells Kurt Rambis to play Grant, youth more

OAKLAND, CA - MARCH 16:  Head coach Kurt Rambis of the New York Knicks complains about a call during their game against the Golden State Warriors at ORACLE Arena on March 16, 2016 in Oakland, California. 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.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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The traditional pattern in the NBA is as teams fade from playoff contention they increase the playing time for their younger players to get them experience.

In New York, Kurt Rambis is keeping his starting backcourt of Jose Calderon and Sasha Vujacic going while the rookie Jerian Grant and the just better Arron Afflalo come off the bench. Rambis said he would play Grant more, but also has benched him for a half when he struggled.

Now Carmelo Anthony has gone to Rambis and said it’s time to play the youth, reports Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.

Carmelo Anthony told reporters that he approached other veterans and then Kurt Rambis about giving more minutes to younger players for the rest of the season to develop guys like rookie Jerian Grant. “Those guys need to play, especially right now,” Anthony said according to reports. “… You can practice and do drills and one-on-one things all day long but you only get that experience by playing in an actual game. I think it’s good for them, it’s good for the morale of the team, it’s good for their confidence. Because sometimes in a situation like this, you can lose your confidence. And that’s something we don’t want.”

Give that man a gold star. Or an oversized max contract.

Experience is the best teacher. It can’t be that alone, but with the right coaching to aid it experience helps guys learn quickly. We can see that in the development of teams like the Minnesota Timberwolves, who have played through the mistakes of their young core and have gotten better this season. Same in Detroit. Same in Utah. Same in a lot of places.

The Knicks, as an organization, need to learn how to develop talent. It’s not something they had to do in the past when they could just buy who they wanted (although they haven’t purchased wisely). In today’s NBA, player development is key and it’s why San Antonio is San Antonio. And right now why the Knicks are the Knicks.


Report: Barcelona offered Kobe Bryant chance to play for them, he said no

LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 29:  American Express Teamed Up with Kobe Bryant at Conga Room on March 29, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Allen Berezovsky/WireImage)
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Does Kobe Bryant wish he had decided not to come back this season to a struggling Lakers’ squad? Does he wish his career had ended with a different note, maybe a European farewell tour?

He was never likely to do it, but European powerhouse Barcelona made that offer, according to a report in Spanish site mundodeportivo.com, as picked up on by Hoopshype.

The offer, made last summer, was for Kobe to play only in Barcelona’s Euroleague games, which is the equivalent of the Champions League in soccer where the top teams from each country’s club leagues face off against each other. It’s the biggest basketball stage in Europe, where Kobe would have played in major markets against name teams. But he turned them down saying he was not physically up for it.

The offer must have been for next season, as Bryant is under contract to the Lakers this season and I can think of 25 million reasons he was not going to get out of that deal to play in Europe. And after watching Kobe Bryant play one half against the Heat and sit on the bench in the second half wrapped like a mummy due to “general soreness” one would think he’s not going to change his mind now about a European vacation.

But if you’re Barcelona, why not try? While you’re at it, put in a call to former Barca star Pau Gasol and see if he wants to return (he will be a free agent this summer ).