Kobe on efforts to recruit Rajon Rondo to Lakers: ‘I’m not stopping until he signs an extension’

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Kobe Bryant had a very public breakfast with Rajon Rondo during the Lakers trip to Boston earlier this season, in what may have been a bit of a feeling out process.

The Lakers were reportedly interested in acquiring Rondo, but lacked the assets to get a deal done before Celtics GM Danny Ainge eventually settled on a package he liked from the Mavericks.

While Rondo has been thriving in his new role and Dallas is almost certainly going to finish the year with an entry into the postseason, he will be an unrestricted free agent next summer. And as long as that door remains even slightly open, Bryant will continue to hold out hope that he can convince him to come to Los Angeles.

From Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald:

Bryant took particular interest in the late-December trade of Rajon Rondo to the Dallas Mavericks. He and Rondo had breakfast together when the Lakers were in Boston early last month, and it was widely assumed that Bryant was doing a little early recruiting on the point guard who becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer.

While Mavericks owner Mark Cuban expressed confidence his club can and will sign Rondo to a new deal, Bryant told the Herald he’s not about to cease working on getting him to LA.

“No way,” Bryant said. “I’m not done. I’m not stopping until he signs an extension.”

The Lakers prefer to rebuild quickly through free agency, rather than take their chances on unproven young talent by bottoming out to obtain high draft picks. Rondo is likely to stay in Dallas, but if the Lakers decide to overpay, you never know what the future might hold.

Bryant’s recruiting efforts may have some sway over available free agents, and his efforts will almost assuredly matter more than those of Nick Young. But L.A.’s ability to attract more than one of them would carry more weight, because (depending on who those pieces were) it could put them back into the realm of immediate playoff contention.

Watch Carmelo Anthony’s first bucket as a Trail Blazer

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That Carmelo Anthony started the first game he played for Portland speaks to why they signed him in the first place — this team is so shorthanded along the front line that the guy they just signed got thrown into the fire.

Anthony responded with a solid level of play. His first bucket was a wing three where both defenders went to CJ McCollum and left ‘Melo wide open.

Anthony played 12 minutes in the first half and had 7 points, 3 rebounds, 1 block, and three fouls. The team was looking to keep him at around 20 minutes for his first game back.

Portland led New Orleans 54-53 at the half.

How a single computer folder and dogged HR official exposed former Kings executive’s $13.4M embezzlement scheme

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Just how close did Jeff David come to getting away with embezzling $13.4 million from the Kings while working for them? He already secured a new job with the Heat and was in the process of moving from Sacramento to Miami.

Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN:

On this Monday, walking through the Davids’ new front door is a dizzying procession of cable guys, utility workers and movers. Amid all of this, Jeff receives a phone call from a former co-worker with the Kings. Her name is Stacy Wegzyn, and she works in HR. Jeff last remembers sitting in her office in Sacramento just months earlier, being told that the Kings were going to eliminate his position. After a few pleasantries, she gets down to business. She tells Jeff she’s been going through his old files, and in doing so she found one labeled “TurboTax” that references an entity called Sacramento Sports Partners.

“I was just curious what that is and if those are documents that should go to somebody else,” Wegzyn says.

It’s a seemingly innocuous inquiry from an HR lifer. But it’s one that will dictate the rest of Jeff David’s life. If he knows that — or senses it — he doesn’t let on.

“No, no, no,” Jeff responds. “That was a … man, this is taking me back. Maybe 2015?”

Wegzyn presses on. She asks Jeff whether the documents contain anything that anyone with the Kings needs to see. Jeff assures her they can trash them because the entity isn’t around anymore. A few minutes after he hangs up, his mother-in-law, Nancy, is standing at the front door when an FBI investigator appears, asking to speak to Jeff.

If you like the NBA or true crime – let alone both – I HIGHLY recommend reading Arnovitz’s full piece. It’s riveting!

Warriors Kevon Looney cleared for on-court basketball work, will return soon

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At least someone on the Warriors is getting healthy.

Big man Kevon Looney, who played opening night and has since been sidelined with a sore hamstring and neuropathy (what the team described as “nerve-related symptoms”), has been cleared to return to on-court basketball activities, the team announced Tuesday. From the official press release:

He will participate in select practice sessions with the Santa Cruz Warriors this week and will re-join the Golden State Warriors over the weekend. We will continue to monitor his progress and will provide another update on his status on Sunday.

Looney has already been officially assigned to Santa Cruz.

This is good news for the Warriors, who have been starting Willie Cauley-Stein but desperately need more shot blocking and depth up front.

Anyone getting healthy is good news for a Warriors team that is 2-12 and has the worst net rating in the NBA (-10.4).

Carmelo Anthony to start first game for Portland, apparently thinks he’s wearing number infinity

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Carmelo Anthony will wear No. 00 with the Trail Blazers.

Why?

Apparently because 00 kind of looks like ∞.

Anthony:

Somewhere, Kyrie Irving is nodding in support.

In terms of numbers that make sense…

Marc J. Spears of ESPN:

That’s a sizable role for a 35-year-old in his first game in more than a year. But Portland needs scoring with Damian Lillard sidelined, and – at last check (though, again, a while ago), Anthony was accustomed to big minutes.

Besides, we all want ample opportunity to see Anthony back on the court after his lengthy absence.