There were some agitators out there trying to play yesterday’s comments by Phil Jackson and Kobe Bryant as the two sniping at each other, that there is some tension there.
No. Really, no. Yes, Phil Jackson said Kobe “screw(ed) up the offense in the third quarter” but he said today he clarified mean that like “crank up the offense” as in to bring energy, according to the OC Register. Although the key part of what Jackson said was that Kobe had to screw it up — the Lakers were lethargic and had terrible execution, so it was up to Kobe to shake them out of it. He had no choice.
Kobe said essentially the same thing today.
“He was right,” Bryant said. “I totally broke the offense, but I did it intentionally because I felt like we needed to get something started because what we were doing just wasn’t working. I tried to kick-start it, and sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t.
“When it works out, great. When it doesn’t, I take the criticism for it but I have thick enough skin to be able to do it.
“I was trying to win the damn game. We were playing (terrible), we all were, so I was just trying to get something going, trying to pump a little energy to us and it just didn’t work out.
“But Phil doesn’t really care how many shots I take, he just wants me to take them inside of the offense. That was one of those days where I was like, ‘(expletive) the triangle, I need to get myself going and try to save this damn game,’ and it just didn’t work out.”
There are days that does work (ask the Raptors sometime). There are days it doesn’t.
That it didn’t work was less the issue for the Lakers that the original lethargy. Which is to say don’t scapegoat Kobe for the loss to the Grizzlies, the Lakers were throwing that game away as a team before he decided to crank it up. Or screw it up. Doesn’t really matter what term you use, it’s right.
The Wizards struck out on luring Nuggets president Tim Connelly.
Washington’s next choice?
Ben Standig of NBC Washington:
As for the rumor mill, one name stands out: Neil Olshey.
Numerous sources told NBC Sports Washington of the Wizards’ interest in Blazers President of Basketball Operations
Olshey has done a good job in Portland. He drafted Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum then built a winner around those two after LaMarcus Aldridge left. Trading for and re-signing Jusuf Nurkic to a reasonable contract looks great. Olshey also overpaid Evan Turner, Meyers Leonard, Allen Crabbe and Festus Ezeli, but many teams spent wildly in 2016. It was a weird summer.
The Wizards would do well to hire such a proven executive.
Would Olshey leave the Trail Blazers? Their ownership situation remains uncertain following the death of Paul Allen in October. Wizards owner Ted Leonsis has demonstrated extreme loyalty to his executives.
Portland will also reportedly sign Damian Lillard to a super-max extension – a move that practically must be made, but one that carries massive downside risk. However, if he goes to Washington, Olshey would be trading uncertainty in Damian Lillard’s value on the super-max for certain negative value with John Wall on his super-max extension.
A couple years ago, Olshey signed his own extension through 2021. Maybe he’s ready to move on.
Or maybe he’s ready to use the Wizards as leverage for a raise.
New Lakers coach Frank Vogel said he wanted Jason Kidd because Kidd is a good coach.
Steve Popper of Newsday:
the person familiar with the Lakers process said something else: that Kidd was brought to Los Angeles to attract Giannis Antetokounmpo to the Lakers when he becomes a free agent in two years when the Bucks star could become an unrestricted free agent.
Things I believe:
1. This plan probably wouldn’t work. Not only does Antetokounmpo appear happy in Milwaukee, he has specifically said he could never see himself playing for Los Angeles. And though I believe Antetokounmpo respected Kidd while Kidd coached him, look at the Bucks now. They’re so much better under Mike Budenholzer. You think Antetokounmpo is itching to play for Kidd again after seeing the other side?
2. The Lakers might just try this wild plan anyway. Remember when they were waiting to hire a coach in 2014 so free agent LeBron James could pick? Aside from signing LeBron last year, who seemingly had his eye on Los Angeles for years and for reasons other than basketball, the Lakers have struck out on star free agents. The franchise is getting desperate.
3. People want to believe the Lakers would do something crazy like this, and that makes the rumor spread faster – whether or not it’s true. The Lakers, because of their stature, tactics and general manager have made many enemies around the league. Plenty of folks are enjoying piling on.
The Toronto Raptors are just one win away from their first ever NBA Finals appearance. Kawhi Leonard helped Toronto beat the Milwaukee Bucks, 105-99, on Thursday night in game 5. That gave the Raptors a 3-2 Series lead over the Bucs as they head back to Canada on Saturday.
Meanwhile, rapper Drake and a bunch of fans watched the victory over Giannis Antetokounmpo in the Jurassic Park outside of Scotiabank Arena. Elated with the win, Drake of course made statements to local television and to the crowd itself, saying the Raptors were “like a college team”.
Game 6 is on Saturday in Ontario at 5:30 p.m. PST.
We don’t know what to think about Kevin Durant and his plans for the offseason right now. Reports have him choosing between the Los Angeles Clippers and New York Knicks. Others think he might just stay with the Golden State Warriors. At the very least, some have suggested that nobody really knows where he’s going to go, and Durant’s own business partner says he’s undecided.
So take this with a huge, giant, rough-edged grain of salt.
According to former Oklahoma City Thunder teammate Kendrick Perkins, he would not be surprised if Durant decided to signed with the Clippers this summer.
It’s not even the end of May yet and I’m already tired of talking about Durant. He’s not even playing and he’s tiring. Durant is perhaps the league’s best player, but the next time this story will be interesting will be when he finally signs somewhere in early July.
In the meantime, talking about what the mercurial Durant wants is a lost cause. Nobody knows what he wants — maybe not even Durant. That is, until he decides to furiously tweet it at a media member. That’s not out of the realm of possibility, either.
Durant won’t be back for the start of the NBA Finals, which is the real story of interest. Golden State looks great against the Portland Trail Blazers without their former two-time Finals MVP, and if the Warriors win a championship without Durant actively participating in that series, it will make his legacy that much more compex.