Lest you think that star players trying to recruit others stars was just some isolated little fad, we bring you Kevin Love.
If he doesn’t sign an extension with the Timberwolves (and they plan on offering him a max deal or at least near it), Love could be a restricted free agent in 2012. (Well, at least under the current system, who knows what the rules will be then.) That’s a couple years away and the Wolves could — and almost certainly would — match any offer Love got.
That didn’t stop Love from getting recruited by other players and teams in Los Angeles, he told David Aldridge of NBA.com.
“A lot of it was (about) OKC,” Love said. “A lot of it was a few other teams that just need that one more guy. And a lot of it was circulating around the Lakers, ’cause we were out there as well. There was a lot of pressure and a lot of questions were circulating, and I almost felt like, ‘Damn, I have to take a step back and, not assess the situation, but kind of look at things from a broad horizon.’
“As far as right now, I love the city of Minneapolis. I like Minnesota as a state. I love the people here. Our team is very young. We have a lot of stuff going for us when you look past the win column. I think I just have to look at that come contract time.”
The important thing there — Love is looking at the big picture. Which means he wants to see Minnesota move toward the top of the league or… who knows what? Recruiting players now, until we see what a CBA looks like is kind of moot. If there is franchise tag, you can recruit him all you want the Wolves would maintain all the power.
But know that the recruiting is going on.
It was more than just Rihanna and Drake (and Kanye). It certainly was more than Lenny Kravitz.
It’s the game.
The NBA is as hot as it has been since the Jordan era and that continued again Sunday — the All-Star Game from Staples Center had 9.1 million people tune in to watch, the highest ratings since 2003, the year of Jordan’s retirement, TNT announced.
Ratings were up 33 percent over last year and up at least 29 percent in every age demographic and up at least 40 percent in every male age demographic.
That followed on the heels of an All-Star Saturday night that got the best ratings in the 26 years of the event.
All season long television ratings have been up for the NBA (and overall ticket sales are up one percent from last year). Credit the Heat and LeBron James, credit Kobe Bryant, credit the Lakers and Celtics being good at the same time again, credit young stars like Blake Griffin and Kevin Durant. Credit whatever you want (or all of it together), the numbers show it to be a reality.
Which will make it especially sad when the owners and players throw it all away by forcing a lockout that drives many of those fans away.
Dwyane Wade left the All-Star Game in the third quarter with an ankle injury, never to return to the court.
Heat fans, you should… relax.
Wade himself said this was nothing serious after the game, as reported by ESPN’s Heat Index.
“It was an All-Star Game,” Wade said of his decision not to return. “If it were a regular game, I would have tied my shoes up a little tighter and gone back out there. But I didn’t want to do too much.”
Wade is expected to play Tuesday against Sacramento.
Wade injured the ankle on a third quarter play when he landed on the foot of Jazz point guard Deron Williams. Wade had been battling a sore ankle for a few games and this seemed to aggravate it. He grabbed his ankle and limped off the court, but was soon joking with teammates.
For people calling for a more serious All-Star Game with something on the line, this is the risk. What if fighting for home court in the finals Wade more seriously injured his ankle and had been out a couple weeks or longer? Would that be good for the league?
Wade finished with 14 points.
Kobe Bryant came out like a man on a mission — the guy who wins the All-Star MVP is usually the guy who wants it most. Playing on his home court (well, not actually the court, I have no idea what that two-toned monstrosity was) in front of the home fans Kobe put on a show.
That included more dunks than he has had in a game in ages. He even outran a LeBron chase-down block.
It was a vintage Kobe performance, with everything that goes along with that.
Kobe Bryant said it was playing with all those younger, high-flying players.
The cynic in some — not us here at PBT, we would never be cynical or sarcastic — would say it was because he had a naked ambition to win another MVP award.
Either way, Kobe was dunking Sunday night at the All-Star game like he hasn’t in years. Take, for example, this early throw down.