Last night was just a big night for Kobe Bryant in general. You might even say it was a rollercoaster of emotions for him. Perhaps a rollercoaster of love. Maybe not. By the end of the night he’d hit another amazing career milestone, had an insane first quarter display, a disappointing end, and a loss. But we’ll get to all that.
First, Bryant wound up taking over Hakeem Olajuwon’s spot on the all-time scoring list, moving into the eighth spot with this little move-o-rama.
So that was a pretty good time. This was in the midst of a 21 point first quarter for Bryant. An incredible display of shooting from Bryant, who seemed to be on a mission to show those who questioned him that they were absolutely 100% wrong and there was no point in even suggesting that he isn’t clutch.
Bryant would finish 2 of 11 in the fourth quarter, 1-5 in “clutch” time as referenced by 82games.com (inside 5 points and 5 minutes), with a pair of free throws. 38 points on 27 shots which is pretty good and had Bryant not scored like gangbusters in the first, the Lakers may not have even been in the game. Still, this won’t help the discussion of whether Bryant going AWOL in the offense takes his teammates out of it. And for those who said that you have to watch the games and ignore the numbers to see if Bryant is clutch, tonight will be one of many games completely tossed aside as “irrelevant.”
In all honestly, the Lakers were having one of those nights, and combined with the trap game aspect with the Celtics looming and a terrific performance by DeMarcus Cousins and the Kings, just one of those things that happens. The nice thing about having five rings is you get to ask people to count them when they doubt you.
The Hawks’ rebuild got going with big John Collins. Though they’re reportedly eying Luka Doncic with the No. 3 pick, they could easily draft another big – Jaren Jackson Jr., Mohamed Bamba, Marvin Bagley or Wendell Carter.
And then there’s veteran center Dewayne Dedmon.
He no longer fits in Atlanta (never did, really). But he’s not bypassing a chance to earn $6.3 million.
Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:
There just wasn’t going to be that much money for the 28-year-old Dedmon in a tight market this summer.
Dedmon is a good defender, and he developed his ball skills – as a 3-point shooter and passer – in Atlanta last season. The Hawks could look to trade him. Maybe, in a deal primarily about his expiring contract, he adds extra value to the other team due to his playing ability.
If Atlanta doesn’t move him, Dedmon will be a fine player on a likely tanking team. At least he’s not good enough to subvert the Hawks’ tank, especially with the new lottery format.
Nick Young will say and do nearly anything for attention.
Empowered by the Warriors’ championship, he swung for the fences when asked about Canada passing marijuana legalization.
Young, via TMZ:
“I want people to pass cocaine,” the NBA star told TMZ Sports outside 1 OAK on Tuesday night … “Everybody needs to do cocaine!”
Predictably, that caused a bit of an uproar. Then, Young backtracked:
Too late, Nick. People are already asking questions you don’t want asked.
The 76ers have too many 2018 draft picks – Nos. 10, 26, 38, 39, 56 and 60.
Philadelphia already has 11 players under contract for next season. Plus, the 76ers have the space to add premier players. There just isn’t room for everyone on the roster.
So, Philadelphia unloaded one of those selections.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
This is good return for the 76ers, who everyone knew had to trade a draft pick. The rebuilding Bulls could easily land a higher second-round pick than No. 39 next year.
Why do the Lakers want an extra second-rounder this year? Second-round picks don’t count against the cap until signed, and they can always slightly sweeten a trade offer. They’re helpful for a team with big plans and little wiggle room.
The Knicks have the No. 8 pick, and tomorrow’s draft will be the most important part of their offseason.
Will they also have cap space to add talent in free agency? That hinges on Enes Kanter‘s player option.
If Kanter opts out, New York will have even more room to operate thanks to Kyle O'Quinn declining his $4,256,250 player option.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
The Knicks expected this for a while, and they’re probably not disappointed. Steve Mills and Scott Perry want to put their stamp on the franchise. O’Quinn is a leftover from the Phil Jackson era and a reminder of the recent tumult in New York.
O’Quinn’s combination of block percentage (6.1) and defensive-rebounding percentage (27.8) was unmatched last season. He just really struck a nice balance between contesting shots and remaining in position on the glass. He’s also a smooth mid-range shooter with an improved ability to distribute.
How much is that player worth?
It’ll be a tight market, especially for bigs. For his sake, I hope the 28-year-old O’Quinn already has assurances from other teams. He might get a similar salary or, more likely, a larger overall guarantee on a multi-year deal. But it’s also possible he comes out behind by testing free agency.