The LeBron James-Shabazz Napier saga was one my favorite NBA things in the last year.
LeBron tweeted about how much he liked Napier, and the Heat – without assurance LeBron would stay in Miami – traded up in the draft to get the Connecticut point guard.
Maybe the Heat would have done that anyway, but that’s a tough sell. It really appears Miami got Napier specifically to appease LeBron.
Want to show LeBron’s power? This is a great example.
Does Kobe Bryant carry the same weight with the Lakers?
The Lakers signed Ronnie Price to an unguaranteed contract, making him one of several players competing for the final regular-season roster spots.
But Price has separate himself from the pack by securing a Kobe endorsement.
After the team had finished, all-star Kobe Bryant singled out veteran guard Ronnie Price for quickly showing he’s ahead of his teammates.
“Price looked really good. He looked like he could run all day,” Bryant said. “He’s in phenomenal shape.”
“When he was in Utah, he gave us a lot of problems,” Bryant said. “He really turned a few games around for them … with his energy and ability to get to the basket. He’s an underrated shooter.”
Price might not need Kobe’s help. Lakers coach Byron Scott is also raving about Price (though maybe he’s just following Kobe’s lead).
“Ronnie Price has been the one guy that I could look at and say, ‘Wow, this guy has really got my attention,’” Scott said. “Offensively, he just understands what we’re doing. He plays within that box, which means he plays within himself.
“He doesn’t try to do anything he’s not capable of doing. And defensively he’s a little bit of a pitbull. He just gets after people. I love that about him.”
If Price hasn’t locked up a roster spot, that would say a whole lot about the power structure in Los Angeles. But I don’t think Mitch Kupchak or a Buss would overrule Kobe and Scott.
Besides, they might want to keep Price anyway.