Kurt Helin

Kobe Bryant

Will Lakers retire Kobe’s number 24 or 8?

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Midway through his career with the Lakers, as Kobe Bryant was trying to reboot his identity, he changed from No. 8 to No. 24.

Now that Kobe has announced his retirement at the end of this season, the Lakers are faced with a question: Which number will the Lakers retire?

Likely No. 24, but the Lakers haven’t made a decision, according to TMZ.

A spokesperson for the team tells TMZ Sports, “We have had a couple very casual and preliminary conversations internally about this over the past few years. But now that Kobe has officially announced a retirement date, I anticipate we will discuss this more formally in the coming weeks and months.”

What ultimately matters most is what Kobe wants, and at least a couple of years ago Kobe said he wanted 24.

If I were going to guess, I would be 24 goes up into the rafters, but the Lakers “unofficially” retire No. 8 — they will not give that number to another player again. But ultimately the decision is Kobe’s.

Next year. For now, they just need more nights from him like Wednesday.

Hawks send Tim Hardaway Jr. to D-League

Tim Hardaway Jr.
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ATLANTA (AP) — Atlanta Hawks guard Tim Hardaway Jr., acquired during the NBA draft for a first-round pick, has been assigned to Canton of the NBA Development League

Hardaway has played in just four games as he has struggled to earn a role in coach Mike Budenholzer’s rotation.

In his first two seasons, both with the New York Knicks, Hardaway averaged 10.8 points in 151 games. When the Hawks traded for him, Hardaway was expected to be one of the first players to come off the bench and possibly work as spot starter for Kyle Korver.

Hardaway was inactive for the seventh time as Atlanta lost to Toronto on Wednesday night.

The Hawks also assigned center Edy Tavares to Canton.

Kyrie Irving cleared to practice, nearing return with Cavaliers

Kyrie Irving
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CLEVELAND (AP) — Cavaliers All-Star guard Kyrie Irving is fully cleared to practice and says he’s made “the biggest step” in his comeback from a broken left kneecap.

Irving didn’t disclose a date for his season debut, but said Thursday that he’s made significant progress and won’t look back – or hold back – once he’s on the floor. When he returns, Irving says: “I’m a Ferrari without a rearview mirror.”

Irving fractured the kneecap in Game 2 of the NBA Finals last season. Without him, the Cavs were missing one of their top offensive players and couldn’t stay with the Golden State Warriors, who won the title in six games.

Irving says he has pushed himself harder this week in practice, devoting himself to knock off the rust.

 

Knicks’ Kristaps Porzingis: “I know our fans are better than Brooklyn’s fans”

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Is there a Knicks/Nets rivalry?

Sure, they share the same market, but there is no meaningful playoff history, and New York remains a Knicks town where the Nets struggle to draw television ratings in their market. Knicks fans tend to take over the Barclays Center when they play.

If there is a rivalry, already-beloved Knicks rookie Kristaps Porzingis was more than happy to play along speaking to the New York Daily News.

“Sometimes I see with a Brooklyn hat on, I say, ‘What is that? You need a Knicks hat,’” Porzingis said. “I joke around with them…

“I know our fans are better than Brooklyn’s fans,” he said. “It will be a good game. Brooklyn, they’re struggling this season. But they will try to win the rivalry as we want to win.”

But hipster Nets fans have better beards.

To be clear, New York is a Knicks town, and it’s going to take a long time and a lot of positive memories for the Nets to start to turn the tide. And right now, I’d much rather have the Knicks’ future in terms of players and picks. Porzingis shouldn’t have to do a sell job.

 

 

John Calipari on Derrick Rose: “He doesn’t have a real high pain threshold”

Derrick Rose
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More than much of the rest of the country has realized, Chicago has turned on Derrick Rose. It’s a city that prides itself on its blue collar toughness, and after a long list of injuries and comments about putting himself first Bulls fans have been turned off and moved on. This is Jimmy Butler‘s team now, as we discuss on the PBT Podcast.

John Calipari — now at Kentucky who coached Rose at Memphis — was asked about the Bulls’ point guard by Colin Cowherd at Fox Sports Radio (transcription via the Chicago Tribune). His answer was enlightening,

“I coached Derrick, so here’s what I know. He will defer to his team. Now I will say this, and he knows this, he doesn’t have a real high pain threshold,” Calipari said. “He’s one of those guys, and while he’s getting injured, he knows ‘I gotta be right.’

“When you’re an athlete like Derrick Rose, it is really important that you’re healthy. He’s beating you with speed, with explosiveness. And if I’m the Bulls, I don’t want him at 70 percent. We gotta get him at a 100. But it was a freak hit to his eye.”

This couldn’t be more perfect for the legions lined up against Rose.

It was a freak hit to his eye, but that’s not what is holding him back at this point. That is live. Rose is not nearly as explosive as he once had been, the multiple knee injuries have robbed us of MVP Rose. The problem is he has not accepted this. Rose is convinced he is about to be that Rose again, even though is shooting just 37.5 percent on shots inside eight feet of the rim, and is hitting 18.8 percent from three. It’s nic

The Bulls are in an awkward transition from the Derrick Rose Bulls to the Jimmy Butler Bulls, and it’s not always smooth. Next summer there could be a lot of player changeover in Chicago.

How Rose fits in with all of that remains to be seen.

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