Tuesday And-1 links: If you think LeBron’s shoes cost too much don’t pay it

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Here is our regular look around the NBA — links to stories worth reading and notes to check out (stuff that did not get its own post here at PBT) — done in bullet point form. Because bloggers love bullet points like Young The Giant loves Cough Syrup.

• Lots of buzz today about Nike releasing LeBron X Nike+ this fall — the shoes he broke out as new during the USA’s gold medal game against Spain. The reason for the buzz is the reported price tag of $315. Two key points here. First, that is for the Nike+ version (which tracks how far you run, how high you jump, etc, with a chip in the shoe that ties to your iPhone), but if you just want the shoe it reportedly going to be $180. Which is not out of line with the basketball shoe market. (I love Nike+ for runners, for hoop it’s your call.)

Second — if you don’t like the price, don’t buy it. Pricing of shoes, like corn and televisions, is dynamic based on supply and demand. Don’t buy the shoes, spend your money on a less expensive pair from another brand. The market will correct if you are in the majority. Nike (and adidas and everyone else) will charge what they can get. If this offends you, well, capitalism isn’t for you. Sorry.

• While we’re on the sneaker beat, Blake Griffin and Russell Westbrook are among the big shoe deal free agents after this season.

• If this matters to you, see who NBA players, front office and owners donated to this election season. (If you guessed the owners lean Republican, you get a gold star.)

• Does anybody in the United States like FIBA’s 3-on-3 Olympic basketball idea?

Great writing in the New York Times about the rise and fall — mostly fall — of Jonathan Hargett.

Here’s a rumor the Thunder would love to steal Jimmer Fredette. Take with a lot of salt. A lot.

• Boston hired Jay Larranaga to join Doc Rivers’ team of assistant coaches.

• Dallas has signed Jim O’Brien to be Rick Carlisle’s lead assistant coach.

• The Timberwolves would consider bringing back Anthony Tolliver.

• John Wall schools a high schooler who challenges him. But as Kelly Dwyer points out at Ball Don’t Lie, the best part is at the very end when one of the high schoolers says his buddy “read the scouting report” and let Wall have jumpers. True. Wall will get more of that starting in November.

• Remember how there was talk of MSG’s stock price after Jeremy Lin left for the Rockets. MSG closed at a record high yesterday. Lin doesn’t impact that much.

• Houston Rockets executive vice president of basketball operations Sam Hinkie is in the mix for the 76ers GM search, which continues at a casual pace.

• Jerryd Bayless officially signed two-year deal worth approximately $6 million with the Grizzlies.

• Former Sixer Craig Brackins has signed with Angelico Biella in Italy.

• Did you ever see the video of the Tunisia coach slapping a player during the Olympics?

Ben Simmons racked up his first triple-double of season in three quarters

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The first triple-double of the season went to the Pelicans Elfrid Payton with the “just made it” version of 10, 10, and 10.

Ben Simmons racked up the first of what will be many triple-doubles this season in his second game, Thursday night against the Bulls. He finished the night with 13 points, 13 rebounds, and 11 assists. Here is the assist that put him over the top, along with a few other highlights.

Philadelphia started the second half on a 19-2 run and controlled the game the rest of the way, going on to win by 19. There was even a Markelle Fultz pull up three that fell.

Kobe Bryant: “The Lakers are going to surprise a lot of people,” make playoffs

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Lakers fans are not known for their reasonable expectations or patience, and LeBron James coming to the team has only enabled those tendencies. However, around the team a lot of people are tamping down expectations, with some even suggesting the Lakers will miss the playoffs.

Kobe Bryant is a Laker fan, and he is tamping down nothing.

In a wide-ranging Q&A with The Undefeated, Kobe addressed his expectations for the Lakers this season.

“The Lakers are going to surprise a lot of people. Rob [Pelinka, the Lakers’ general manager] has smartly built a team of physical players. Big, versatile, fast, physical players. He understands that if you want to challenge Golden State, you can’t challenge them with shooting. That’s what they do. You’ve got to beat them somewhere else. You have to beat them with size. Chippiness. Feistiness. Strength and speed. And he has a team that has that. He has a mixture of vets that are still in their primes and young kids that are hungry and open-minded and willing to learn. A team that can compete and challenge. That is a dangerous mix.”

So, Kobe, we’re talking about a playoff team?

“Oh, God, yes. C’mon.”

I predicted the Lakers as a playoff team, somewhere around 47 wins. They are going to be good, I like the young core with Brandon Ingram (who will have to be the No. 2 option this season), Lonzo Ball and the rest. The young players are going to have to step up, and the veterans — particularly Rajon Rondo and JaVale McGee — can help.

But the margin for error is slim, as it is with every team in the West playoff hunt not in Houston or the Bay Area. A slow start and it’s fair to ask questions about the Lakers. Injuries will play a role in the West no doubt. The Lakers should be a playoff team but they are no lock.

If they do fall short, Kobe will not be the only disappointed fan asking questions.

NBA revamps website dedicated to providing officiating info

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NEW YORK (AP) — The NBA is trying to get even more transparent about the calls its officials make.

The league has revamped its nba.com/official website, adding video archives of plays that merited reviews as well as detailed breakdowns of the responsibilities of officiating crews working each game.

A daily injury report is a new addition to the site. That injury report will be updated three times per day.

Other features of the new site include a sortable digital rulebook with video breakdowns of what makes a certain play legal or illegal, as well as the continued postings of the detailed reports breaking down all calls made in the final two minutes of close games.

 

Steve Kerr on military displays at games: “Sometimes, it’s really inspiring… sometimes it feels like we’re being patronized”

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Things changed in sports after 9/11. The national anthem had always played before sporting events, but in the wake of our national tragedy American sports leagues turned to patriotic and military displays before games as a way to help unify fans. In a small way, some sporting events helped heal the country after that life-altering event.

However, those militaristic displays have continued on 17 years later, with some leagues buying in more than others, and not everybody in the sports world is comfortable with that.

Golden State coach Steve Kerr, never someone shy about speaking out about political and social issues, was asked about the displays at sporting events as part of a wide-ranging interview with Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area, which can only be seen in full on the new NBC Sports My Teams app, but we have a clip.

“Sometimes, it’s really inspiring. You see a mother and daughter or a father and son reconnected after a tour of duty, and everybody gets emotional. And sometimes it feels like we’re being patronized. Like this is being used. We’re just playing a sport here, and it feels sort of nationalistic, if that makes sense. So we are kind of wandering down a dicey path on this front.”

Kerr speaks out on politics — usually to bash President Donald Trump — and likely will do more of that with the midterm elections coming up. However, don’t think he takes that step lightly, or that he thinks it’s for everyone. Kerr has a nuanced view and understands the risks of what he does.

“First, you have to feel comfortable with what you’re talking about and what you’re discussing. So if you’re not comfortable with speaking about social issues, then I don’t blame anybody for not doing so. But there’s also a sense, when you’re in a job like this, that you’re working for people. You’re working for a league. You’re working for an owner. You’re working for an organization. And almost everything you say is going to be looked at two different ways. You start to worry about offending people. You start to worry about ‘Am I doing something wrong?’ ‘Am I going to get fired?’ ‘Am I going down the wrong path?’ ‘And I really like this job and I like coaching basketball and I just want to coach. So you sort of leave that alone. I’ve got no problem with that.”

Kerr can speak out because he’s in a secure space (same with the Spurs’ Gregg Popovich). For a lot of coaches, the backlash from speaking out may not be worth the hassle, not from just fans but from within the organization.

Kerr also teamed with Rock The Vote to try and get more people to use their voice at the ballot box. Kerr also knows his megaphone is larger than that, and he’s not afraid to use it.