DeMarcus Cousins says he got no other offers, though that sounds like semantics at best

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DeMarcus Cousins is signing a one-year contract with the Warriors for just the $5,337,000 taxpayer mid-level exception.

Why did he accept so little from Golden State rather than getting more elsewhere?

Marc Spears of The Undefeated on ESPN:

He told me he got zero offers. Zero offers. This is a four-time All-Star, one of the best players in the world. Zero offers. So, he was certainly confused, certainly hurt.

Zach Lowe of ESPN:

Even so, the Pelicans still had something like $13.7 million to spend before bumping into the luxury tax. They could have outbid the Warriors paltry $5.3 million deal — the mini-midlevel exception for tax teams.

They didn’t. The Pelicans had a tentative meeting scheduled with Cousins in the coming days, per sources close to the situation. That will obviously not happen.

Scott Kushner of The Advocate:

Will Guillory of The Times-Picayune:

What constitutes an offer? It’s sometimes such a silly distinction. If Cousins knew what the Pelicans were willing to pay him, that counts for me. I don’t care whether they formally presented it yet if everyone understood Cousins could have gotten that amount.

By not calling it an “offer,” New Orleans can say it wasn’t rejected and Cousins can build an narrative around being slighted and the chip on his shoulder growing.

How much were the Pelicans willing to pay Cousins? We might never know the specifics, but it clearly wasn’t the full max and probably wasn’t anywhere close.

Were truly no other teams interested? The Celtics were reportedly runner-up for him, so it seems they were. But Cousins’ torn Achilles is scary and could significantly diminish his production. There are also teams that want nothing to do with him and his attitude. Perhaps most importantly, few teams have more cap space than the mid-level exception. Even teams that value Cousins – injury, moodiness and all – far higher than what he’ll get from Golden State might not have had the cap room to do anything about it.

So, I’m not convinced Cousins’ salary with the Warriors reflects the league-wide opinion on his value – even if that’s how it’s being spun.

Vanessa Bryant suing helicopter company after crash that killed Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant, Vanessa Bryant and Gianna Bryant
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Ever since Kobe Bryant and Gianna Bryant died in a helicopter crash last month, we’ve been seeking answers about what went wrong during the flight piloted by Ara Zobayan. After all, Kobe Bryant had made helicopter rides such a normal part of his life.

Now, Vanessa Bryant – Kobe’s wife and Gianna’s mother – is suing the company that operated the helicopter for wrongful death.

Nathan Fenno of the Los Angeles Times:

The complaint in Los Angeles County Superior Court against Island Express Helicopters and Island Express Holding Corp. alleged that pilot Ara Zobayan, who also died in the crash, failed “to use ordinary care in piloting the subject aircraft” and was “negligent.”

“Defendant Island Express Helicopters’ breach of its duty and negligence caused the injuries and damages complained of herein and Plaintiffs’ deceased, Kobe Bryant, was killed as a direct result of the negligent conduct of Zobayan for which Defendant Island Express Helicopters is vicariously liable in all respects,” the lawsuit said.

Report: Ben Simmons back injury “isn’t a day-to-day thing”

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ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that the back injury for Philadelphia 76ers All-Star Ben Simmons “isn’t a day-to-day thing”.

Simmons missed the Sixers first game following the All-Star break on Thursday. He then left Saturday’s game in Milwaukee after playing just 4:44.

Over the weekend, Philadelphia ruled Simmons out for Monday’s game against the Atlanta Hawks and said he would undergo further evaluation. Per Wojnarowski’s report, that evaluation is ongoing and a course of treatment is yet to be decided upon.

Expect Philadelphia to lean on Raul Neto, Alec Burks and Shake Milton as primary ballhandlers while Simmons is out. None possess the size and skill combination of Simmons, but all have had moments throughout their careers. Neto drew the start in place of Simmons on Thursday. Burks was acquired at the trade deadline to give the team much-needed bench depth. Milton has flashed at time in his second season, after beginning his NBA career on a Two-Way contract.

Philadelphia loses Simmons while in a battle with the Miami Heat for homecourt advantage in the Eastern Conference playoffs. The fifth-place 76ers are 1.5 games behind the Heat for the fourth seed, and two games ahead of the sixth-place Indiana Pacers.

Pacers: Jeremy Lamb suffers torn ACL, torn meniscus, fracture

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Kobe Bryant making two free throws after tearing his Achilles was one of the greatest moments of his legendary career.

On a day Bryant was honored, we learned Pacers guard Jeremy Lamb made a similarly gutsy pair of free throws during Indiana’s loss to the Raptors yesterday.

Pacers release:

During the second quarter of the Pacers game at Toronto on Sunday, Indiana Pacers forward Jeremy Lamb sustained a torn left anterior cruciate ligament, a torn lateral meniscus and a lateral femoral condylar fracture.

He will undergo surgery on a date to be determined. He will be out the remainder of the season. Any further updates will be provided after surgery.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Lamb misses all of next season. This is just a devastating set of calamities.

At least Lamb has a guaranteed $10.5 million salary each of the next two seasons.

Indiana (sixth place, 33-24) will have an even tougher time winning a playoff series now. The Pacers could challenge in the first round, but they’ll almost certainly be significant underdogs.

They have depth at shooting guard, for what that’s worth. Victor Oladipo just returned. Justin Holiday is a solid reserve. Finding his lane at point guard, Malcolm Brogdon can move off the ball when T.J. McConnell or Aaron Holiday plays point guard.

Michael Jordan braces for return of ‘Crying Jordan’ meme after Kobe Bryant eulogy (video)

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The NBA just held All-Star Weekend in Chicago, where Michael Jordan starred for years with the Bulls. Jordan wasn’t a visible part of the festivities, though. He just prefers to remain out of the spotlight.

Yet, Jordan spoke at Kobe Bryant’s memorial service today. That’s how important Bryant – whom Jordan described as a younger brother – was to Jordan.

Jordan even addressed the elephant in the room – that he was reproducing the “Crying Jordan” meme. Thank goodness for another laugh amid the tears.