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Rajon Rondo upset that him sitting away from Lakers bench got so much attention

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Rajon Rondo has said that sitting in seats near the Los Angeles Lakers bench — but not directly on the Lakers bench — was not a big deal.

Ok.

The Lakers lost to the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday night, their fourth dropped game in a row. LA is in a tailspin and is unlikely to make the playoffs, and now LeBron James is apparently going to be on a minutes restriction the rest of the year.

From a news perspective, the act of Rondo sitting not on the Lakers bench is relevant. If this is something that he does with frequency, it’s not something that’s been reported at length before. Plus, in the context of where the Lakers are in the standings — and with Rondo being one of the veterans on the team meant to lead — his physical distance told a visual story about what’s happening with Los Angeles right now.

Of course, we’ve seen NBA players get upset about how they are covered in the media and what they deem to be important. Kyrie Irving has had a rough go of it lately, and Rondo was no different. After stories about Rondo published, the veteran point guard took to his Instagram to say that people were trying to gaslight him.

More pointedly, Rondo said that James passing Michael Jordan on the all-time scoring list was the real story.

Via IG:

There are two things to unpack here. First, nobody said that you can’t have two stories on the same night. It’s completely fair to say that the two stories on Wednesday were:

  1. LeBron passing Jordan
  2. Rondo sitting away from the Lakers bench as a kind of summation of this Los Angeles season

Second, it’s not as though the media didn’t talk about James passing Jordan. That was a major story, one that trended on Twitter and made its way across every major NBA outlet. Rondo acting as though people did not pay their due respect to LeBron does not mean that’s what happened.

But this is an era where any bozo can just throw their hands up and say “fake news!” this kind of thing gains traction. It doesn’t mean that, in the eyes of the universe, anything is more true or less true, but it can sway public opinion nonetheless.

Rondo isn’t a trained journalist, so his determination of what’s newsworthy, what should be covered as top priority, and what’s a non-story isn’t an expert opinion. He has the right to be upset that his seating arrangements got picked up, and that he’s facing heat for it. But to act as though news outlets aren’t doing their due diligence is an argument made in bad faith. That’s disappointing to hear from a brilliant mind like Rondo.

It must be frustrating to not be able to craft a narrative around yourself when every NBA player is now a brand. But the spotlight is bright for a reason, and the reality is that Rondo sitting away from his bench is weird no matter the explanation — even on a historic night for LeBron.

Report: Lakers claim Kostas Antetokounmpo off waivers

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Giannis Antetokounmpo is a 24-year-old MVP playing in Milwaukee and heading toward a super-max decision that could have him hit 2021 unrestricted free agency.

Big-market teams are licking their chops.

That probably has something to do with the Lakers adding his brother, Kostas Antetokounmpo.

Shams Charania of The Athletic:

Kostas Antetokounmpo was the last pick in last year’s draft. He spent the season on a two-way contract with the Mavericks, who just waived him. He’ll remain on a two-way deal with the Lakers. The 21-year-old was alright in the NBA’s minor league, but he’s not a tantalizing prospect.

Except for his connection to Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Giannis Antetokounmpo said he could never see himself playing for Los Angeles. But maybe he’d change his mind if someone close to him has a positive experience there. That must be the Lakers’ hope, at least.

It’s worth a shot, and the Lakers aren’t the only team trying this angle. The Bucks also signed Thanasis Antetokounmpo this summer.

Harden on fit with Westbrook: ‘When you have talent like that, it works itself out’

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It was the question everybody asked about 30 seconds after they heard Russell Westbrook had been traded to the Houston Rockets for Chris Paul (after the initial shock of the deal wore off):

Do Westbrook and Harden, two of the most ball-dominant, isolation heavy players in the NBA, actually fit together?

Harden says yes. Of course, what else is he going to say, but he was earnest about it in comments to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle at the Adidas and James Harden ProCamp event last Friday.

“When you have talent like that, it works itself out. You communicate. You go out there and compete possession by possession. You figure things out. Throughout the course of the season, you figure things out. That’s just what it is. When you have talent, you have guys with IQ, you have guys willing to sacrifice, it always works itself out.”…

“It works,” Harden said. “It’s that trust factor. I trust him; he trusts me. And with the group that we already have and the things we already accomplished, it should be an easy transition for him to be incorporated right in and things are going to go.”

That is essentially is what Mike D’Antoni said, and what Rockets GM Daryl Morey is betting on.

Will Westbrook, and to a lesser degree Harden, be willing to make sacrifices and adjust their games? It is the question that will define the Rockets’ season.

My prediction: The duo works it out on offense and becomes one of the hardest teams to stop in the NBA. They will work it out. However, having to play Harden and Westbrook together on defense for extended stretches will cost Houston in the playoffs earlier than they planned.

George King, Suns two-way player last season, signs to play in Italy

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For players on the fringe of the NBA, there is a choice to be made at some point:

Keep the NBA dream alive and close by making less money (the base salary for most is $35,000 a year) and play in the domestic G-League, where teams have ties to NBA organizations and scouts are watching. Or…

Go overseas, where the money gets better (six figures for most, seven figures for the best) and they will be one of the best players on a team, putting up big numbers and playing a starring role.

George King, who spent last season on a two-way contract with Phoenix — but played just six total minutes with the Suns — has chosen overseas.

George spent most of last season in the G-League with Northern Arizona, where he averaged 15.5 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 2.6 assists a game. He was on the wrong end of a numbers game on the wing with the Suns at the start of the season, but when injuries hit he had not earned enough trust with the coaches to get a real opportunity.

So he went where there is an opportunity.

Same with former NBA player Tyler Cavanaugh, who spent most of last season with the Salt Lake G-League team and is now headed to Berlin.

Plenty of players spend time overseas then come back and are ready for the NBA — Patrick Beverley was in the Ukraine and Greece before coming to the NBA, for example — while others find a very good career playing overseas.

James Harden broke one of his youth camper’s ankles (VIDEO)

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It’s around the time of summer when NBA players (and coaches, and college coaches, and a whole lot of other people) are holding youth basketball camps.

I went to them as a kid (John Wooden’s was the best) and like me, these youth will have the memories of a lifetime, even if they move away from playing hoops someday. Especially this boy, who will forever be able to look back at this video from camp of James Harden breaking his ankles. (Via Houston Rockets Instagram)

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Meanwhile at @jharden13’s camp…😅

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Meanwhile, over at Dwyane Wade‘s camp, he was reminding some young children he is the best shot blocking guard of all time.