The Los Angeles Lakers will end their season tonight against the San Antonio Spurs, but their star player has reportedly left for France.
According to The Los Angeles Times, Laker Kobe Bryant flew to France with his family either Tuesday or today.
A Laker spokesman said he was unaware of Bryant's early departure.
The Lakers have had a tough 26-55 season and will be sitting at home during the NBA playoffs.
Bryant has been injured for much of the season with a fractured knee, reports NBCSports.com.
He was scheduled to speak to Lakers' fans before the team's last game at home on Sunday, but didn't show up until halftime because of a migraine headache.
Bryant, who reportedly earned $30.5 million this season, tweeted this afternoon, "S*** season. Flush it. Forget it #amnesia Next Season will be epic #blackout #bussfam."
Sources: The Los Angeles Times, NBCSports.com, Twitter
State Rep. Pat Garofalo, Republican, created a stir on Twitter Sunday after he sent out a tweet about NBA basketball players that some considered racist.
“Let’s be honest, 70% of teams in NBA could fold tomorrow,” he wrote. “Nobody would notice a difference w/possible exception of increase in street crime.”
When asked to comment on the tweet, Garofalo said he was talking about the NBA’s high arrest rate. He also noted that the major pro league is the only one in which testing positive for marijuana is not a substance abuse violation.
Garofalo added that he had no intention beyond that, except to note that many athletes are above the law.
Within two hours of the tweet, it was retweeted more than 600 times. Many took jabs at Garofalo’s own profession.
“There’s more criminals in your profession than the NBA buddy,” one tweet read.
The Los Angeles Lakers, Dallas Mavericks and Minnesota Timberwolves have all been linked to a potential Kevin Love deal at various points over the past two years. Now, with the 2013-14 NBA trade deadline quickly approaching, numerous reports are indicating that the three teams are once again considering a possible deal that will land Love in a different uniform.
According to Ken Berger of CBS Sports, the Lakers and Mavericks are “trying to assemble trade offers” before Thursday. However, the same report notes that “thus far the Timberwolves have given no indication they’ll consider moving the All-Star forward.”
There are several realities that need to be accounted for in order to understand each team’s motivation.
Minnesota knows that, in all likelihood, if Love is allowed to become a free agent he will probably go elsewhere. Los Angeles has long been rumored to be his preferred destination.
The Lakers have always had their eye on Love, but being forced to give up draft picks for a player they can attain through free agency doesn’t make much sense.
And Dallas has come to terms with the fact that no quality superstar free agent will sign with that franchise – ever. Thus, if they don’t get someone via trade, they won’t get them at all.
Stay tuned, the next 24 hours should be very interesting.
The Philadelphia 76ers won't be making the playoffs this year, but they certainly act like champions.
The 76ers signed Kevin Grow, a high-school basketball player with Down Syndrome, to a special two-day contract yesterday, notes The Morning Call.
Grow is a senior at Bensalem High School in Bensalem, Pa., and the team manager for the boys' basketball team. His coach put him in the final two games of the season, and Grow scored 14 points (video below).
The contract signing with the 76ers was held at a press conference with 76ers coach Brett Brown (pictured).
"I know you can shoot, but you can play defense, too, I say we give him a three-day contract," said Brown, notes Philly.com.
Grow stated, "It's great to be here."
"Everybody is very proud of what you have done and what you have accomplished is sensational," Coach Brown added. "You should be proud of yourself."
Yesterday, Grow practiced with the 76ers and ate dinner in the players' lounge.
Today, Grow will get his own locker and jersey, watch pregame warm-ups and be part of the "high-five tunnel" before the 76ers play the Cleveland Cavaliers.
There will also be a special on-court presentation for Grow and the Bensalem High School basketball team.
ESPN reporter Doris Burke laughed when the Oklahoma City Thunder's Kevin Durant thanked God after a victory over the Miami Heat, 112-95, on Wednesday.
Durant scored 33 points during Wednesday's game, giving him a streak of 12 consecutive games in which he has scored 30 or more points.
According to AwfulAnnouncing.com, Burke asked Durant, "What goes into a streak to get you to this level these past twelve games?"
"Thank God, that's all I can say, Jesus Christ," Durant responded (video below).
Burke laughed and asked, "Okay, thank you. You had nothing to do with it?"
"No, nothing, it's all Him," added Durant.
NewsOK.com reports there was pushback against Burke on Twitter with comments such as:
Much respect @KDTrey5 for giving Jesus Christ all the credit, the fact that Doris Burke would laugh after makes me hate espn ever more
Doris Burke's interview with @KDTrey5 was very unprofessional and very disrespectful. She needs to be fired. #Thunder
No reservation/hesitance in @KDTrey5's gratitude. Exudes humility. What more people need to see and do. Screw Doris Burke - she's an idiot.
Burke responded to the controversy by stating, "He just took me by surprise with his reaction, not because he's a believer, I'm a believer. It was an incredible demonstration of humility in the context of what has been a truly spectacular stretch.”
Rajon Rondo returned to the Boston Celtics on Friday night after a year of recovering from a torn ACL. The Celtics promptly lost to the absolutely awful Los Angeles Lakers 107-104. Rondo had eight points, four assists and two rebounds in the effort. On Sunday, Boston fell again, this time by two points to the Orlando Magic. Rondo played a total of 21 minutes and totaled up six points (on three-of-10 shooting), six rebounds and four assists. He’s getting better, but clearly he’s not yet the dominant player he was prior to getting hurt.
Which begs the obvious question: What does this mean for his status with the Celtics?
According to Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News, “more than a few” general managers around the league expect Rondo to be moved either before next month’s trade deadline, or in June before the 2014 NBA Draft.
If that is true, and it makes enough sense given the Celtics’ current setup, then there is really only one trade for them to make: Rondo for Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik. Kevin McHale has made it no secret that he is a fan of Asik’s work, and Lin has proven himself to be one of the league’s more solid offensive talents this year. This is really the only scenario where Boston gets sort of fair value back for a guy of Rondo’s stature.
Of course, there is another theory floating around. This one is based on the notion that, the Celtics already have a young centerpiece to build around, so why trade him? Why attempt to acquire a draft pick who may turn into a great player when you already have a 27-year-old great player?
In a year, the Celtics will have less than $20 million committed to salaries. McHale would be able to ink Rondo to a max deal and then add any of the talented big men available (ahem, Kevin Love) that year beside him.
If Rondo gets moved this year, it will be to Houston. It just makes too much sense to ignore. However, if Daryl Morey doesn’t bite, then it wouldn’t be particularly shocking to see Rondo ride it out until he sees whether or not the Celtics can surround him with some talent in 2015.
The Houston Rockets have been looking to trade Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik since before the season started.
When Dwight Howard was initially brought in, Asik made it clear that he had no interest in playing second-fiddle to the new best big man on the team. Kevin McHale tried to make it work by starting both at the same time, but they never really meshed.
Along the same lines, even though Lin has been a pleasant surprise for Houston all year long, his defensive question marks and inability to play to his full potential beside a ball-dominating two-guard like James Harden has always made him a tradable piece.
To date, the biggest problem Houston has had while seeking out trade partners is finding someone who would be willing to acquire sizeable salaries for players that are good, but not great. In an NBA where everyone is saving up cap space to sign a big name free agent, blowing your dough on Lin and Asik doesn’t make much sense.
One destination that has always seemed very logical for Lin and Asik has been Boston. The Celtics are knee deep in a rebuild right now, and both guys would be able to make immediate impacts. Danny Ainge has been accepting garbage from teams for the past year, so it’s not like he’s saving his cap space for LeBron James.
About a month ago, the Rockets came very close to trading Asik to Boston – but ultimately that deal fell apart. According to Sporting News, that trade probably isn’t going to happen before the deadline. Moreover, it’s unlikely that Asik and Lin will be moved anywhere at this point.
“It is a tough sell to bring something like that to your owner,” one league executive told Sporting News. “You have got to tell him, ‘We’re getting a pretty good player, an $8 million player. Oh, but we have to pay him $15 million. We will be giving him LeBron (James) money. That’s OK, right?’ That’s not really a conversation you want to have.”
For what it’s worth, there are worse problems to have than being able to call Lin your point guard. The 25-year-old is one of the most talented offensive players in the league. And if he ultimately helps Houston win a title this year, nobody will remember the fact that Daryl Morey has been trying to get rid of him since before Howard was officially signed.
Are the Houston Rockets considering trading Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik to the Brooklyn Nets for Deron Williams? In order to fully understand that rumored deal, you need to take a few steps back.
When the Brooklyn Nets first emerged as a major player in the NBA free agent market, they had a vision in mind. Deron Williams would be their cornerstone. At the time he was recognized as one of the league’s best point guards, and a guy you could pair with any other superstar in the league. Their other target would be Dwight Howard.
Over the past two years, the Nets have made numerous attempts to acquire Howard – more than once when he was with the Orlando Magic, and at least once when he was with the Los Angeles Lakers. Obviously it never panned out. Brooklyn, because of its massive payroll, could only acquire Howard via trade, and nobody ever wanted to pull the trigger on a swap with them.
Howard eventually landed with the Houston Rockets, and he seems relatively happy there.
According to Ken Berger of CBS Sports, the Rockets and Nets briefly discussed a trade that would put Howard and Williams together – only not exactly the way Brooklyn had in mind way back when. No, this deal would send Lin and Asik to BK, and leave Williams in a Rockets uniform.
Where you come down on this proposed deal depends a lot on how you view the talents involved. Some see Asik as a great piece for the Nets – a squad severely lacking in legitimate bigs right now. Others seem him as a pouty, annoying baby who is more trouble than he’s worth. Some see Lin as a tremendous offensive talent that can be the floor general of any team. Others see him as a huge defensive liability. Some see Williams as one of the most talented point guards in the league. Others see him as an overrated coach killer.
It’s all about perspective.
No matter how you view the pieces involved, chances are this deal won’t happen. There’s just not enough in it for Brooklyn to completely throw in the towel – especially given how awful the Eastern Conference is and likely will be over the next few years.
New York Knicks guard J.R. Smith was recently fined $50,000 by the NBA for "recurring instances of unsportsmanlike conduct."
The "unsportsmanlike conduct" first happened on Sunday when Smith tried to untie Dallas Mavericks forward Shawn Marion's sneaker, noted the Associated Press (video below).
“I’ve always said I don’t condone things that I know you shouldn’t do and, no, I’m not happy about this, because, again, he was warned, he comes back and he makes the same mistake, and it’s not right,” New York Knicks coach Mike Woodson told ESPN New York.
“I’m going to address it tomorrow when he comes in here for work, because it’s unacceptable. I mean, it really is. I mean, it’s unprofessional," added Woodson. "That’s the only word I can use, or two words. It’s just, you can’t do that. You just cannot do that.”
Smith also tried to untie the shoe of Detroit Pistons Greg Monroe during a free throw attempt on Tuesday and was hit with the whopping $50K fine (video below).
The Knicks player was also fined $25,000 in November 2013 for using bad language toward the Detroit Pistons Brandon Jennings on Twitter.
Yea I do it every game! RT @bwolfe_22: @TheRealJRSmith I seen you untie Dwights shoe against the rockets too! Haha didn't you?
Dennis Rodman apologized on Thursday for an outburst he made on CNN this week, claiming he had been drinking alcohol before the interview.
Rodman appeared on “New Day” this past Tuesday when he implied an American detained in North Korea, Kenneth Bae, had done something wrong.
“Do you understand what he did? In this country?” Rodman shouted at CNN host Chris Cuomo.
"It had been a very stressful day," Rodman later told the Associated Press. "Some of my teammates were leaving because of pressure from their families and business associates.”
He said he was drinking before the interview, but “it’s not an excuse.”
"I embarrassed a lot of people. I'm very sorry," Rodman says. "At this point I should know better than to make political statements. I'm truly sorry."
A video of Rodman singing “Happy Birthday” to Kim Jong Un ahead of the exhibition game was released Wednesday.
The family of Kenneth Bae was “outraged” by Rodman’s display.
"He is playing games with my brother's life," Bae’s sister Terri Chung said in a statement. "There is no diplomacy, only games, and at my brother's expense."
Bae has been detained in North Korea for longer than a year. He was a tour operator in Pyongyang. He has not been charged with a crime, but he was sentenced to 15 years in jail. Due to failing health, Bae was transferred from a prison camp to a hospital.
"He is clearly uninformed about Kenneth's case, and he is certainly not in any position to pass judgment," Chung said of Rodman.