Morning Shootaround — Jan. 24


VIDEO: The Daily Zap for games played Jan. 23

NEWS OF THE MORNING

Kobe plans to sit out All-Star Game | Ainge: Rondo, Celtics have talked extension | Mozgov’s role on the rise in Denver | Jazz legend Hundley has Altzheimer’s

No. 1: Kobe plans to sit out All-Star Game — In the final voting returns for the 2014 All-Star Game, only Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry received more votes than injured Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant. Still, according to the voting totals and the set up for the All-Star Game, Bryant would be a starter in the game — if he were actually going to play. After last night’s Lakers-Heat game from Miami, Bryant told the media he will sit out the All-Star Game because of his injury-shortened season. ESPNLosAngeles.com’s Dave McMenamin has more:

Having only played in six of the Los Angeles Lakers’ first 43 games this season, Kobe Bryant does not feel he is deserving of his starting All-Star bid and plans to sit out the Feb. 16 game in New Orleans.

“With all due respect to the fans that voted me in, I certainly appreciate that, they know how much I appreciate that, but you got to do the right thing as well,” Bryant said before the Lakers’ 109-102 loss to the Miami Heat on Thursday night. “My fans know you got to reward these young guys for the work that they’ve been putting in.”

Bryant spoke to the media just minutes after the league announced the starters for the 63rd annual All-Star Game next month.

Without naming names, Bryant, 35, said that some of the league’s rising stars — Portland’s 23-year-old guard Damian Lillard (280,966 votes) and Houston’s 24-year-old James Harden (470,381 votes) come to mind — belong there more than he does.

“I think it’s important for them to go in and perform,” Bryant said. “They’ve been playing all season. They deserve to be in there. They deserve to play. So, I see no reason why they shouldn’t be out there doing their thing.”

Some Lakers likened Bryant’s selection to a kind of career achievement award.

“He’s being voted, obviously, in what he’s done in the past. Not what he’s done this year,” coach Mike D’Antoni said.

Bryant, sidelined since Dec. 17 with a fracture of the lateral tibial plateau in his left knee and averaging 13.8 points, 6.3 assists, 4.3 rebounds and 42.5 percent shooting this season, has missed the Lakers’ last 18 games. This is, of course, after missing the Lakers’ first 19 games because of a torn Achilles in his left leg.

Bryant will be re-evaluated either Monday or Tuesday of next week when the team returns to L.A. after its current seven-game road trip, according to the Lakers. However, Bryant maintained that his examination will not occur until “February,” effectively eliminating his chances of playing Tuesday against Indiana or Jan. 31 against Charlotte.

He added that his knee injury is not being hampered by his initial Achilles tear.

“I don’t even worry about my Achilles,” said Bryant, adding he is going through vigorous exercise bike workouts to stay in shape. “It’s not even something that’s on the radar anymore. It feels great.”

He said he plans to return to the Lakers’ lineup sometime before the All-Star Game.

“It wouldn’t be enough to have me be deserving to play in the All-Star Game,” Bryant said.

The five-time champion was wary of a stipulation in the league’s collective bargaining agreement that requires elected players to perform in the All-Star Game if they are healthy enough to do so.

“If I played [for the Lakers] before [the All-Star Game], the rule is you got to go in there and play or miss the next two games,” said Bryant. “So, that just means somebody would have to lose a spot, unfortunately and the back-ups would be playing a lot, because I’d go in there and do my two minutes and sit out.”

While Bryant referenced a rule, no such rule is believed to actually be in the NBA’s handbook. A league source said that the automatic two-game suspension that Bryant referred to was “not really true.”

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No. 2: Ainge: Celtics, Rondo have discussed extension — Point guard Rajon Rondo is finally back in the Celtics lineup after tearing his ACL nearly a year ago. The former All-Star has played in just three games this season, but Boston is well aware of what he provides them when fully healthy and on top of his game. Next season is the last season Rondo will be under contract with the Celts and team president Danny Ainge said Boston is trying to work out an extension with the guard. However, as ESPNBoston.com’s Chris Forsberg notes, an agreement on a deal likely won’t come until this summer or next:

Boston Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said the team has talked with point guard Rajon Rondo about a contract extension, but the restrictive nature of the collective bargaining agreement makes it more likely that talks will escalate after this season.

“We did talk to Rondo about extending him,” Ainge said Thursday during his weekly appearance on Boston sports radio 98.5 the SportsHub. “But that’s all part of the negotiation that will happen again this summer and most likely the summer after.”

Later Ainge added, “In the collective bargaining agreement, there are limits on what can and can’t be done. Really, it’s not that Rondo doesn’t want to accept an extension, as much as it’s just not financially smart for him to accept it right now. We didn’t think he would [sign], but we did try.”

Pressed on the potential parameters of an extension, Ainge backed off, noting as he often has that he preferred not to discuss negotiations through the media and admitting, “I think we’ve said enough.”

“I think that Rondo will demand quite a bit in the open market,” Ainge said. “The competition for Rondo in free agency will be very high.”

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No. 3: Nuggets’ Mozgov seeing role in offense increase — It’s been quite a career for Timofey Mozgov with the Denver Nuggets to say the least. Since arriving in town via the Carmelo Anthony trade in 2011, Mozgov has seen his minutes and role fluctuate wildly from regular rotation player (during the 2011-12 season) to seldom-used reserve (last season). This season, however, Mozgov is tied with teammate J.J. Hickson with a team-best 5.0 close touches per game (per NBA.com/Stats), a number that puts him 25th in the NBA overall. The translation of this stats talk? When the Nuggets play in the post, it is likely going to Mozgov first. And, as Nuggets coach Brian Shaw tells Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post, that’s a trend that’s likely to increase.

Mozgov is Denver’s most improved player. Going into Thursday night’s game against the Portland Trail Blazers, the 7-footer was averaging career highs in points (8.7), rebounds (6.0) and blocked shots (1.2). He was shooting 55.8 percent from the field, another career high.

A lot of what he’s done has been done in the low post, and that’s what has caught the attention of coach Brian Shaw, who wants the Nuggets to play inside-out offense.

“We’ve had to evolve into getting away from that,” Shaw said. “We’re actually going to come back around to getting the ball inside, because what’s been a pleasant surprise has been Timo inside. When we do get the ball inside to him, he’s shown the ability to finish and do things with it, with his back to the basket.

“So, particularly for him, we’re starting to diagram, dial in more things for him to get touches and use his size and shooting ability inside to our advantage.”

***

No. 4: Legendary Jazz announcer Hundley suffering from Alzheimer’sBefore they were the Utah Jazz, the franchise had its beginning as the New Orleans Jazz in 1974. From those early days with Pete Maravich and Truck Robinson as the stars, to the golden age of Jazz hoops with John Stockton and Karl Malone on through to the Deron Williams-Carlos Boozer-era squads of the late-2000s, one man served as the Jazz’s play-by-play voice: Rod “Hot Rod” Hundley. The Hall of Fame broadcaster stepped down from his role after the 2008-09 season and has been mostly reclusive since then. But some sad news today via The Salt Lake Tribune‘s Steve Luhm that the announcer is now suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease:

Rod Hundley, the iconic former broadcaster for the Utah Jazz, is suffering from Alzheimer’s.

Hundley, 79, lives in Arizona with his partner, Kim Reardon. She told The Salt Lake Tribune this week that the disease has progressed to a “moderate” stage.

Hundley no longer speaks to large groups, Reardon said. But they plan to attend festivities in Utah next week, when the Jazz will honor former coach Jerry Sloan.

He started as the TV and radio voice of the expansion New Orleans Jazz in 1974 after working for the Phoenix Suns, Los Angeles Lakers and CBS.

In 1979, Hundley followed the team to Utah, where he became one of the most recognizable faces of the franchise for the next three decades.

Hundley handed over his TV duties to current play-by-play announcer Craig Bolerjack prior to the 2005-06 season. But he remained on the radio for another four years.


VIDEO: Rod Hundley talks with NBA TV in 2009 as his career with the Jazz nears its end

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SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: Mark Cuban is convinced the Mavs are worth at least a billion dollars … Native Wisconsinite Caron Butler says he wants to be a long-term part of the Bucks’ rebuild … Great read about Magic center Nikola Vucevic and his experience during a train crash in Montenegro eight years ago that killed 47 people … Which team is the third-best squad in the East? … Clippers forward Antawn Jamison brought the boys basketball team from his old, Charlotte-area high school to the Clips-Bobcats game

ICYMI of The Night: We like a strong take to the rim around here as much as anyone, and Damian Lillard certainly provided that last night against Denver. But what we like even better? Multiple views of a monster jam like Lillard’s:


VIDEO: Get an all-angles view of Damian Lillard’s monster dunk on the Nuggets

30 Comments

  1. ron says:

    d’anto is not a good fit with the LA
    evry1 knows that

  2. okc2014 says:

    I get it now. Kobe fans knew he was injured, but out of respect, and for their wishes to come true, they still voted for him. I find it ironic Chris Paul never said “don’t vote for me cause I’m injured”, and his fans still didn’t vote for him as a starter. Who is the West All Star Coach? Coach Pop? I missed that announcement.

  3. kobeballhog says:

    this shows how these fanboys vote, just like what ive been saying all along most of these kobe fanboys are not real nba fans, they just worship their kobe even he is so much overrated nothing but just a ballhog who keeps putting up shots after shots, always wanna be the alpha dog on the lakers wont back down from his humongous salary to help lakers rebuild, anyway if you are a real nba fan you would appreciate talent elsewhere there are far more players out there who deserve those votes, not like fanboys voting because its their idols. i laugh when i see that this year even the likes of garnet still getting votes for allstar game what he averaging? 4-5points a game? come on be a REAL nba fan.

  4. Turk says:

    They should only consider the fan vote. The fan vote should be 1 point. Gm`s 1 point, players 1 point, coaches 1 point, media 1 point. Lebron, Durant, Paul George would easily get 5 points where Kobe would get 1 (fans only) and thus not have a chance but still be recognized. (for nothing). This makes since to me.

  5. jeff says:

    why would people vote for kobe bryant, he is great but he’s been injured the whole year, That’s just favoritism you’re suppose to vote for people that have a good year that pisses me off.

  6. ... And the PEOPLE have spoken ! says:

    Shut your convoluted theories up !

    It is a simple process of people choosing their picks … and the PEOPLE have spoken !

  7. D-Fence says:

    HUGEST LOL at “we want Kobe” what do you freakin want? Another injury? Or 2 minutes of play when he probably touch the ball 2 times and shoot an airball? Is that what you want? Let the guy rest and come up with his skills the next year, you “fans” are so stupid, like you want a doll on exposition not thinking that he is human and there are plenty of other humans which you BIG FANS OF NBA – flooding voting all over – don’t even know that can entertain you more than barely moving Kobe

  8. dustydreamnz says:

    I don’t why people voted Kobe, it was doubtful he’d be back and he told people not to vote anyway.
    It shouldn’t matter which team someone plays for, if LBJ played in a squad with the 14 worst guys in the league and they were bottom of the table should LBJ miss the All Star game? Of course he shouldn’t.
    Kevin Love plays for the Wolves, so what. He’s been better than Dwight Howard all year, is it a surprise he’s starting? Of course it’s not.

  9. None Of The Above says:

    Bryant should miss the All-Star game as he doesn’t deserve to be there anyway. The game should be for those who have excelled in the season so far not the winners of a popularity contest.

  10. We Want Kobe ... says:

    We Want Kobe … We Want Kobe … repeat after me … We Want Kobe !

  11. belgam says:

    and dej im glad at least you realize your dumb
    that explains the kobe vote. EVERYONE ON EVERY PANNEL OF TALKSHOWS WITH EX PLAYERS LIKE BARKLEY etc say the same. voting for kobe is just absurd

    AND DEJ YOU WANNA KNOW MY TEAM? HEAT AND YOU KNOW WHAT! ITS ALSO DUMB THAT WADE GETS SELECTED IN AL STAR GAME. he plays 2/3 of the games even less,

    An al star is mostly a young gifted atlete that played al the matches and played them good.

    SO kobe,wade,eeuhm i dont know

  12. belgam says:

    i am the guy that wants to see al stars, not a old beatn up guy costing his teams millions and balhogging

  13. richard gee says:

    contrary to sir charles and the gang the all star game should be for the best players in the league not for the best players on the top teams hibbert,stepheson,noah,milsap,not 3 spurs either

    • ... says:

      I’d agree with you if you left it at starters, rather than the entire game. Hibbert, Noah, etc. have been picked based on their contributions to the winning teams of the league, not necessarily because they’re among the top players in the league.

  14. belgam says:

    Really?
    People stil want to see kobe play?
    Just one little,very little reminder, EVERYONE THAT VOTED KOBE TO ALL STAR IS DRUNK OR COMPLEET STUPID!!!!!
    Your gonna vote a guy that is barely beating father time and only played 10 matches or so in th all star game?
    this show us the knowledge of the fans and the respect for other player.

    kobe to, he is considering not playing. REALLY???? CONSIDERING???? Be the better OLD man and say from the first second, im not playing cuz im injured, then you get respect. not by being a BALHOGGER ON 1 LEG in a all star game

    THere are dozens of other players with no or only 1 all star game under their belt that deserve it 10 times more then kobe

    Dont get me wrong kobe was good, but thats it, he WAS.
    Yeah yeah with al the big talk like better then you, treu, but he is not even good enough to be in the top 25 talk of mvp the last 2 a 3 years

    • DEJ says:

      I guess I am drunk or stupid, but what are you “judge”?

    • ... says:

      It’s a popularity contest for the starters and most other events on All-Star Weekend..you should have figured that out by now..

      You should really re-evaluate your definition of “COMPLEET STUPID”. For starters, look in the mirror.

  15. Johnny K says:

    Rondo should of been wearing the letters…KNICKS… on the front of his jersey, and I am hopeful he soon will. Melo needs some help from his teammates. I am so tired of hearing how the Knicks stink to high heaven. Sure they do but look at the injuries and true, a lack of effort, sometimes. Stephen A, Smith is blowing the Kevin Love horn and I dream of Rondo..Melo…and Love.

  16. yea that’s the right thing to do KOBE sit and watch .Be humble and you have nothing to prove . your one of the best.the game is going to be good. the west will win . we have the best players that’s for sure.

  17. TTKIN says:

    As a Laker fan, I did not vote for Kobe for the all star game. He asked his fans not to and I respect Kobe too much to ignore that wish hahaha. Glad he got elected, but glad he is stepping aside for the younger players.

  18. Celtics Fan says:

    DA is hinting other GM’s that Rondo is indeed available for trade next season but he wants Rondo to increase his value first so he’ll get another 5 draft picks lol
    In Danny Ainge we trust.

  19. joe says:

    Kobe Bryant, a real champion.

  20. Rightbackatchya says:

    Kobe Must play at all star game simple as that. Kobe is kobe as he always was or ever will be..

  21. kanuk says:

    bah, kobe should play. these games are half speed anyways so he could just go out and see how the knee feels with a little work out, jack up some 3′s, throw out those smiles and make everyone happy.

  22. Apex Predator says:

    From an actual NBA fan as a whole and not a team or player fan. I am glad Kobe decided not to participate since he should have not even been considered as an all star this season anyway. All this was is a popularity vote for Lakers/Kobe fans with nothing to look forward to with a losing season and no chance at a title, Charles Barkley even mentioned this yesterday as well on TNT.

    The All-Star game has been all about popularity and should change to reward players who actually are playing well. There should be new rules to voting. I hope the NBA reads this, seriously.

    An example: The category the fans whom can vote for should be within these.
    1. Your team should have a winning record or a playoff seeded team
    2. Have played the most consistent during the 1st half of the season
    3. Actaully played (games) at least 80-90% of the 1st half
    4. If theres not enough players from the top categories then a pool is set for the lower teams with all star players but they should not be considered as starters.

    Players that MAY get snubed if because no one knows who they are. Yes some are in lower tier teams but this would be based not on the rules I think should be implemented but the current voting process now. Reserves are announced next week.
    1. Lance Stephenson
    2. Chandler Parsons
    3. Nicolas Batum
    4. Demarcus Cousins
    5. Andre Drummond
    6. Anthony Davis
    7. Michael Carter Williams (may be)-still a rookie
    8. Demar Derozan
    9. Klay Thompson
    10. Monte Ellis (has played well in Dallas with Dirk)
    Just to name a few.

    My opinion only and mine alone. Lets see what backlash Im going to get from this.

  23. qq says:

    Kevin garnett should have done the same last year and let hibbert play, but fans gets what it wants iguess.

  24. james says:

    I can understand where kobe is coming from. I’m a huge kobe fan and I’d love to see him play. But, since he won’t … I would like him to do a HORSE competition. That dude must have some weird shots from all that time on the court.