It’s this simple: The Lakers players believe if management will bring this core with Mike D’Antoni as the coach for one more season they can make a serious run at a title.
Those Lakers see themselves as the side that went 28-12 for a stretch once guys started to get healthy and found a style that fit. They think they found something that works. They want another shot.
Specifically, Kobe Bryant wants another shot.
Steve Nash told the media that earlier during the Lakers exit media sessions.
We’ll see if that happens. Dwight Howard said he would take his time in making a decision, but the smart money is betting he will be back.
Bryant also admitted the Lakers need to get more athletic, to get more speed. That’s where things get tricky — the Lakers are so far over the luxury tax line that all they can offer is one taxpayer’s mid-level deal ($3 million or so) and then minimum deals. And the kind of athletes the Lakers need will get better offers elsewhere. The Lakers could try and find a trade that works for those athletes, but the only trade asset of real value on the team is Pau Gasol. And to trade him breaks up the core.
As for his Achilles, Kobe understood this was going to take time (he admitted he would not likely be ready to play when the Lakers head to China in the preseason. But he could be back somewhere between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and Kobe said he understood that he would not be quite the same player.
I’ve already told you I think the Lakers can’t come back exactly the same team next year. But we also don’t really know what the core of this team could have done if healthy and with a training camp under a coach there the entire season. This last season was a perfect storm of things going wrong for the Lakers, they think they’ve gotten through the bad Karma.
The Milwaukee Bucks season is over. Giannis Antetokounmpo and his supporting cast couldn’t get things done in Game 6 on Saturday night against the Toronto Raptors in Canada. Now it’s Kawhi Leonard who is heading to the 2019 NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors.
This season was a magical one for Milwaukee, one in which they took the No. 1 overall seed in the Eastern Conference and likely have the league’s MVP in Antetokounmpo.
As you might expect, Bucks fans are happy about that fact, and showed up to the Milwaukee’s Mitchell Airport to greet their returning team.
It has to be nice for athletes to get this kind of treatment. Although some may want to just go home and languish in their defeat, the unwavering support of fanatics has to take the bite out of the sting, even if just a little bit.
NEW YORK (AP) — The Brooklyn Nets have hired Jeff Peterson as their assistant general manager.
Peterson replaces Trajan Langdon, who was hired as the New Orleans Pelicans’ GM.
Peterson spent seven seasons in the front office of the Atlanta Hawks, the last three as assistant general manager. He worked there with Brooklyn coach Kenny Atkinson, who was an assistant to coach Mike Budenholzer.
Nets general manager Sean Marks says Saturday that Peterson is an “innovative basketball executive” whose “extensive scouting and front office experience” will be assets to a Nets team that lost in the first round of the playoffs.
Kevin Durant is going to be out to start the series, with no exact timetable on his return.
The Toronto Raptors were very impressive — with Kawhi Leonard leading the way and a fantastic halfcourt defense — in eliminating the Milwaukee Bucks.
None of that changes the overall picture — the Golden State Warriors are heavy favorites to win the NBA Finals.
The Warriors are -320 to win the NBA title, the Raptors +260 at the Ceasars Palace sportsbook. What that means for non-gamblers is you have to bet $320 to win $100 on the Warriors, while a $100 bet on the Raptors wins $260.
The Warriors are also 1.5 point favorites to win Game 1 on the road without Durant and coming off a nine-day layoff where rust is to be expected.
Toronto won both regular season meetings between these teams, but both games also were before Christmas.
These lines are the respect the Warriors have earned with two straight titles, three in four years, and a sweep of the Portland Trail Blazers. The Warriors are a dynasty led by Stephen Curry, the Raptors in their first finals, these betting lines were to be expected, and they will follow general public sentiment.
Charles Barkley, on the other hand, picks the Raptors in an upset. Do with that information what you will.
Giannis Antetokounmpo wants to win, wants to make the NBA Finals. Badly. As in he could walk if the Bucks don’t do that in the next couple of years.
Antetokounmpo already showed he was willing to walk — he did so right out of his postgame press conference Saturday night after the Bucks were eliminated from the playoffs by the Raptors.
Khris Middleton‘s “you just leaving me here” face is the best part of this video.
Chalk that up to frustration, on a couple of levels. The question is legitimate — how much this experience helps the Bucks grow and fuels their offseason will say a lot about where they are as a team in a year — but it’s also understandable that in the moment the Greek Freak doesn’t want to talk about it. Or, really, in that spot have the perspective to do the question justice. Middleton went on to say, “hopefully, we learn from this.”
The other part of this is that the reporter, Malika Andrews, wrote a story at ESPN about how Antetokounmpo making the Finals would play a big role in if he stays or not in Milwaukee past this contract. That is not the narrative Antetokounmpo wants out there about him, and sometimes this is how players deal with reporters who write things they don’t like.
Antetokounmpo is one of the league’s good guys, don’t expect this to become a trend.