Even 1,300 miles away lying in bed, Kobe Bryant was still the story for the Lakers Sunday.
Kobe watched the game just like you did… well, his house is bigger than yours and he had more painkillers in his system than you did (probably). But he watched it on television (recovering from a ruptured Achilles tendon) and tweeted about the game, just like I and you and a lot of others did.
Except Kobe’s tweets became the story. Because he’s Kobe.
During the game and during the halftime analysis they showed his tweets. Mike D’Antoni was asked about it after the game even (and said that right now Kobe is “a fan.”)
Kobe’s tweets sounded like the rantings of a lot of frustrated Lakers fans — he wanted the Lakers to pound the Spurs inside.
For Lakers’ fans (and Magic Johnson) who have never taken to D’Antoni — because he’s not who they wanted in Phil Jackson, an issue they should take up with management and not D’Antoni — this was a chance to pile on the coach more.
Thing is, it’s really hard for the Lakers to do what Kobe talks about without Kobe on the court.
These are the San Antonio Spurs we’re talking about, not some pushovers. They are going to take away what you want to do first — they made entry passes to Dwight Howard or Pau Gasol in the post difficult, they didn’t let the Lakers just set up what they want to do. If you’re going to beat the Spurs you have to do it with your second and third options (and as the playoff series moves on those will be more difficult as well).
Kobe was frustrated watching the game (like a lot of Lakers fans).
Kobe was late to the twitter game, just signing up for his account earlier this year, but because of who he is (and because it’s clearly him tweeting and not his PR person) he gained a huge following. Including among the media. He had no idea his 140 character breakdowns would become stories in and among themselves.
But Kobe learns from his mistakes.
Brandon Clarke made his mark in Las Vegas.
The No. 21 pick in June out of Gonzaga, he averaged 14.6 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks per game in leading the Grizzlies to the championship game, and for that he was named the Las Vegas Summer League MVP.
(That award has been won by Damian Lillard, Blake Griffin and John Wall, but also Josh Shelby and Glen Rice Jr. Most winners of the award had good careers as role players — Randy Foye, Jerryd Bayless, whatever Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart become — but it’s a mistake to think it’s a precursor of NBA dominance.)
Clarke wasn’t done, he had 15 points and 16 rebounds in the championship game, leading the Grizzlies past the Timberwolves 95-92. Memphis is your 2019 NBA Summer League Champions.
Memphis raced out to a 15-point lead early in the title game.
In the end, it was a balanced attack that won Memphis the game. Grayson Allen led the way 17 points, but Clarke, Bruno Caboclo, and Dusty Hannah’s all had 15 points, while Tyler Harvey added a dozen.
Minnesota was led by Kelan Martin with 19 points.
The first rule of NBA ownership: Don’t talk about NBA ownership.
Or the business you do as an owner until it becomes official, even if by then everyone else has known for days and already moved on from the topic.
Monday was an expensive day for two of the NBA’s owners of teams in Texas. Mark Cuban was fined $50,000 for leaking information from the league’s Board of Governor’s meeting about the new coach’s challenge — even though everybody knew what was going to happen — before the meeting officially ended. Tim MacMahon of ESPN reported this story and had maybe the best quote of the summer to go with it.
The NBA office fined Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban $50,000 after he admitted to leaking information from last week’s Board of Governors meeting to a reporter, sources told ESPN…
“I appreciate the irony of your reporting on a fine that someone should, but won’t, get fined for leaking to you,” Cuban told ESPN.
Sources said Sacramento Kings owner Vivek Ranadive expressed concern that information about the vote to allow coaches’ challenges was being reported while the meeting was still in session. Cuban immediately admitted that he had leaked the information, sources said.
Well played, Cuban.
This is a letter of the law fine, but was it a big deal that this got out? The vote was all but assured, a formality, but Cuban gets fined for telling people? Thanks, Vivek.
From the same “is this really a big deal” file we have the fine Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta got on Monday, $25,000 for talking about the Russell Westbrook trade before it was official. Even though everybody was talking about it. From Mark Stein of the New York Times.
Here is the oh-so-damaging quote:
Again, I get Fertitta crossed the official line because the trade had not gone through yet, but does that line really need to exist in these cases? It feels like the silly hat thing at the NBA Draft.
Damaging or even interesting information was not divulged in either case. The fines were not steep because of it, but the NBA’s process of what is and is not allowed around trades and free agency — and the odd Board of Governors meeting — seems behind the times.
The Memphis Grizzlies don’t want to just waive veteran Andre Iguodala, they want to get something back in return. That is just turning out to be challenging.
The Clippers and Rockets are still interested, but both teams are at a stalemate, something Shams Charania of The Athletic broke down in a new video.
The story in a nutshell:
• The Rockets are interested, but Iguodala’s $17.2 million would take the team deep into the luxury tax (Houston is currently just shy of the tax line). Charania says any deal likely would involve a sign-and-trade, which implies Iman Shumpert, probably with a draft pick attached.
• The only Clippers’ salary that lines up cleanly is Mo Harkless (with some other players), but Los Angeles doesn’t want to give him up.
Memphis can afford to be patient and say they will just bring Iguodala into training camp, that they are willing to start the season with him.
This may take some time to get done and could ultimately involve a third team. Maybe Dallas gets back in the conversation, or other teams look at their roster and decide they want the veteran wing. This also could be something that drags into training camp, there are no easy answers lined up or the deal would be done already.
From the moment the Warriors acquired D'Angelo Russell in a sign-and-trade deal that cleared the path for Kevin Durant to go to Brooklyn, speculation about fit and an eventual trade cropped up. Does Russell’s game really fit with Stephen Curry and, eventually, Klay Thompson‘s, in a three-guard lineup? If not, how fast will they trade him? February at the trade deadline? Next summer?
From the start the Warriors have shot down the idea that they just planned to trade Russell, and on Monday Warriors GM Bob Myers repeated the same thing.
The Warriors plan has been to play Russell and Curry next to each other — they got an All-Star guard to soak up the minutes until Thompson can return (likely sometime after the All-Star break, if at all next season). Maybe the fit works, maybe it doesn’t, but the Warriors aren’t putting limitations or preconceived notions on the possibilities.
If it doesn’t work out, the trade option will still be there.
The Warriors do not head into this season the same juggernaut to be feared, but sleep on them at your own risk. As Meyers said, they believe they have a team that can compete with anyone.