Morning Shootaround — June 17


VIDEO: Kenny Smith gives his thoughts on the 2014 Finals and the next season

NEWS OF THE MORNING

Kerr gets to know Bogut, Barnes | Pelicans’ Gordon on the mend | Bryant responds to Klinnsman’s comments | Wiggins’ visit to Philly mostly a secret

No. 1: Kerr gets jump on getting to know his playersSteve Kerr has been only been in his new role as coach of the Golden State Warriors a few weeks, but that hasn’t stopped him from getting to know his players. He recently took a trip to Melbourne, Austrailia, to visit center Andrew Bogut and spoke with second-year forward Harrison Barnes and his agent in the Miami area, writes 

New Warriors coach Steve Kerr went out of his way to meet with his players in person. To get to center Andrew Bogut, he flew to Melbourne.

“It showed a lot of respect to come here and see me,” Bogut told The Daily Telegraph on Monday.

“He had some good things to say about the direction of the team and what he wants to do. I’m really excited about Steve.

“The question is that he hasn’t coached before but the way he spoke to me when he was here it seemed like he knew what he was doing.”

Kerr also recently traveled to the Miami area to visit with Harrison Barnes and his agent.

“Steve felt that it would be a great thing for him to do to meet every single player — go to them, not have them come to him — and spend time with them, get to know ‘em, tell ‘em about what his plans were and how they fit in, and also see how badly they wanted to be a part of it as well,” Warriors co-owner Joe Lacob told KGO-TV on Sunday.

“I think the reception has been fantastic, and I think that over time — this is a process — that they’ll get to know him and understand the system he’s bringing in and what we’re going to do going forward. And I think by training camp, we’ll have a group of guys that are all on the same page.”


VIDEO: Take an All-Access look at Steve Kerr’s official arrival in Oakland

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No. 2: Pelicans’ Gordon on the mend — Over the last few seasons, a myriad of injuries have kept New Orleans Pelicans guard Eric Gordon from fully realizing his potential in the Big Easy. Last season alone, Gordon played in just 64 games (which, in his defense, was his highest total in five seasons). But according to Scott Agness of VigilantSports.com, Gordon says he’s feeling better and expects to be fully healthy for training camp:

Eric Gordon has spent his offseason rehabbing after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on April 16 – exactly two months ago today. Although he’s not yet back out on the floor, he’s comfortable where he’s at with rehab and strengthening the knee.

“The knee is doing well,” Gordon told VigilantSports.com. “I’ve been running, moving around very well now. There’s no rush but I mean I’m good now.”

The surgery was to his left, healthier knee. It was a cleanup operation, and very minor, he said. The Pelican guard had the same procedure before on his right knee, which has been more troubling to him throughout his career.

“I think overcompensation happened probably to this left knee,” he said, with his left hand rubbing his knee. “It just needed a very minor cleanup. I’m fine now.”

Gordon on his role with the Pelicans: “Well, it’s different,” he said. “What people have to understand with this team, we’re trying to do things like the Spurs system. It’s just weird because we’re such a young team and we need to be used towards our personnel’s ability. Like I said, it’s all about having everyone on the same page and doing what’s right.”

With a solid core of Gordon, Anthony Davis, Jrue Holiday, Ryan Anderson and Tyreke Evans, the Pelicans finished 12th in the challenging Western Conference with a 34-48 record.

“It’s a weird situation for everyone down there,” said Gordon. “We are a young team that’s had a lot of injuries over the past years. We kind of underachieved and we’re looking that opportunity where we can get everybody healthy and everybody back on the same page. I think once we start winning and make the playoffs, all the bad noise that has been talking about us will go away.”

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No. 3: Bryant responds to Klinsmann’s comment about his contract — U.S. soccer coach Jurgen Klinnsman got himself in some hot water with L.A. Lakers fans when he openly used Kobe Bryant‘s two-year, $48.5 million extension as an example of American sports organizations deferring too much to veteran stars. Bryant was used as an example by Klinnsman as to why he cut Landon Donovan from the U.S. team. On Monday, Bryant was read Klinnsman’s comments while visiting the ESPN set during the World Cup and the Los Angeles Daily NewsMark Medina has more on the interview:

Bryant appeared on set with ESPN gushing about the growth of American soccer, a possible Argentina-Brazil final and his impressions on Brazilian star Neymar. But he hardly shared the same enthusiasm for U.S. Coach Jurgen Klinnsman, who questioned Bryant’s two-year, $48.5 million contract as an example of American sports organizations deferring too much to veteran stars. Klinnsman invoked Bryant’s name as an example illustrating why he cut star American veteran Landon Donovan from the U.S. roster.

“Kobe Bryant, for example—why does he get a two-year contract extension for $50 million?” Klinsmann recently told New York Times magazine. “Because of what he is going to do in the next two years for the Lakers? Of course not. Of course not. He gets it because of what he has done before. It makes no sense. Why do you pay for what has already happened?”

Bryant smiled when those words were read back to him.

“I thought it was pretty funny. I thought it was pretty comical actually,” Bryant said. “I see his perspective. But the one perspective that he’s missing from an ownership point of view is that you want to be part of an ownership group that is rewarding its players for what they’ve done while balancing the team going forward. If you’re another player in the future and you’re looking at the Lakers organization, you want to be a part of an organization that takes care of its players while at the same time planning for the future. Jurgen is a coach, a manager. He’s not a GM or owner of the franchise. When you look at it from that perspective, it changes a little bit. But you probably could have used another player as an example.”

Bryant also laughed off Klinnsman recently questioning Team USAs’ chances to win the 2014 World Cup considering its group play features opponents in Ghaha, Germany and Portugal. How would Bryant react if a coach expressed such doubt to him?

“I don’t think they’d ever say that to me,” Bryant said. “My reputation precedes me. As a team, you just rally around it. I think you have too look at it from a point of view as a tactic to motivate his guys even at the point of making himself the bad guy to the team. As long as it brings the guys together to get out there and perform and prove their coach wrong, then it works. It’s a tough draw. but we’re up to the challenge. If you’re going to be the best, you have to beat the best. We’re up for it.”

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No. 4: Media kept at bay during Wiggins’ visit to Philly — Reports surfaced over the weekend that the Philadelphia 76ers would have top Draft prospect Andrew Wiggins in town to get a closer look at his game in anticipation for next week’s Draft. So, how has Wiggins’ visit to the City of Brotherly Love gone? No one really knows, writes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer:

One thing is certain: The 76ers are entertaining the player they’re targeting in the NBA draft for a couple of days.

But no one outside of the parties involved really knows how Andrew Wiggins’ visit to Philadelphia is coming along.

The 6-foot-8 swingman, who left Kansas after his freshman season, was not available to the reporters who gathered Monday outside the Sixers’ practice facility at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Campus security asked the news media and fans to leave at the team’s request. A Philadelphia police officer was summoned later because the media stood on the sidewalk instead of across the street from the facility.

He got into a black Chevrolet Suburban with Sixers center Nerlens Noel and front office employee Brandon D. Williams.

Wiggins was spotted Monday night at a Rittenhouse Square restaurant with Sixers general manager Sam Hinkie.

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SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: Despite having been roundly beaten in The Finals just two days ago, the Heat remain the odds-on favorite to win the title in 2015 … Re-signing hard-working swingman P.J. Tucker is a top free-agent priority for the Suns … Cool little YouTube video recapping all of the 2014 playoffsDon’t bank on Thabo Sefolosha being back with the Thunder next season …

25 Comments

  1. kobeballhog says:

    Bryant will be the downfall of the lakers franchise. Lakers will never ever be significant again until mr ballhog retires. He ballhoged their salary cap he is not aftrr winning anymore. It is not about rewarding its players. Its about players being part of the franchise growth just like duncan did with the spurs. You dont hold hoatage the franchise going forward. Kobe earned hundreds of millions already. If lebron wade and bosh can sacrifice millions for the sake of winning these are guys still at the top of their career. Kobe is just a ballhog on and off the court

  2. Evens says:

    About his contract extension, I don’t see the problem. It’s not Klinnsman’s business. If the Lakers want to pay Kobe $50M per year, that’s their business. I think it’s a way for them to show their appreciation to him and what he had done for their franchise. I look at it as a bonus check that you get from your employer AFTER a very successful year in business. BTW, I’m not a Kobe fan…GO SPURS GO!!!!

  3. imisswatchingthethunder says:

    Calling people a moron is inappropriate. This is supposed to be a place where anyone can voice their opinion. By the way, I think Kobe Bryant is a moron…LOL.

  4. Bird33 says:

    I like his contract….then again, I’m a huge Celtics fan :-)

  5. bern says:

    I’m a Laker fan, and I think the Lakers made a mistake giving him $50M. That salary is a big burden for the Lakers it will be very difficult to get multiple stars to help the team win another championship in the next 2 years. That was a wrong move by Laker management if winning a championship is a priority in the next 2 years.

    • DenH says:

      Im not a lakers fan (celtics) but i think they could be the smartest organisation out there, by giving kobe all their cap room they take away their ability to field a decent roster, which means they are doomed to lottery again for next season, that means in 2015 when a large crop of all star talent is available via free agency, they will have 2 lottery picks, a couple of max contracts worth of cap room and its still LA so the appeal is always gonna be there, its a kickstarted rebuild, kobe just doesn’t know yet that his 6th ring wont be with the lakers. They have planned for a future without him and they have done it very deftly

  6. drew says:

    Hey El Stone, Maybe you should have gone to college, by manage, he is referring to Jurgen being the coach. Just like in baseball, the coach is “the manager”., the general manager handles the business side of things.

  7. El Stone says:

    Perhaps Kobe should have gone to college. His quote makes no sense: “Jurgen is a manager. He’s not a GM (which of course stand for general manager)”.

    OK Kobe, so he’s a manager but not a general manager (as if the USA soccer team has a GM).

    • Wade says:

      Kobe might be 35 but he is far more better than Dwade. Kobe if far more of a threat on the court then Dwade is. If you pay a player base on their contribution and true value, then the Heat is the one who’s overpaying, not the Lakers.

  8. Dennis says:

    So all yall saying if your employer offered a huge raise at your place of employment you would not take it? Everyone in the world would take that money. Kobe didnt come out asking for this huge amount the Lakers did. If my employer came to me saying we are going to give you a 20%-30% salary increase you think Im going to say no?

    • skrutz says:

      Yeah, but not when there’s a cap. If your boss said that you’d get an insane raise, but at the cost of hiring a bunch of nobodies, would you?

      Not the same. Plus, it shows an extreme lack of humility. He’s getting old, already stinking filthy rich… I would have given him a lot more respect to see him put the team ahead of himself.

  9. Tom says:

    Yea Keep hating on other peoples success none of you combined will do what Kobe did. I`m glad he`s earning that much lol

  10. Jay says:

    -Kobe was offered the money and he took it. The team felt obligated to pay him and with Kobe’s business ambitions after retirement, he will need it. I’m sure most of us – myself included – would’ve signed the same contract. Does it handicap the team? You betcha so the last thing I want to hear from Kobe from here on out is that all he cares about is winning. There comes a time where you have to put your money where your mouth is. See Duncan, Nowitzki and LBJ.

    -Bosh claimed earlier that he would take less money to stay and after the loss, he claimed he’s not sure what he’s willing to do. Well, I don’t think Bosh or Wade will opt out for less money and they both know that if they become free agents, they will not earn what they have coming next season so I expect them to stay put. LBJ: he’s the big variable right now.

    -You always hear coaches telling their team to “move the ball! Move the ball!” Do you think they’ll pay attention now? Like Kenny said: ” it’s a copycat league.” I wonder if Kobe was paying attention or does he even care?

  11. Paul says:

    Kobe is a great player but an awful personality, who cares only about himself and not about the team. Klinsmann is completely correct, and Bryant didn’t fight back because he knows it’s true. His huge salary (should have been 20, max 25 mil for 2 years) salary is a big reason why the Lakers can forget about competing in the coming years. Nothing is gonna happen before he leaves the Lakers. 5 rings is nice, but as Klinsmann said, he got paid for it before. Time to retire Kobe…

    • skrutz says:

      Thats what people dont get. This isn’t something a team player does. There’s limited money to build a team, and Kobe happily took a huge chunk of that.

      And I know Kobe is amazing, and can carry a team (he did it a while before the injury) but he’s recovering and getting older, so why put yourself, your team, and your fans in that position? Ego, thats why!

  12. Dave says:

    “I agree that I’m somewhat overpaid and that my contract impairs my team” said no professional athlete ever.

  13. someone Else says:

    Kobe Bryant tries to defend his colossal overpaid salary – Is anyone surprised – no…..thought not. Jurgen Klinsmann (despite having his named spelt incorrectly twice in the article) makes good points whereas Bryant waffles away and fails to either counter Klinsmann’s argument or make a good one of his own. When Bryant said “My reputation precedes me.”, he should have said “My ego precedes me” that would have been far more fitting.

    • MR210 says:

      I’m a Spurs fan…but I was blown away when that Kobe Bryant extension came out.
      Why in the world would he do that!? He’s hurting the team…but Laker’s don’t seem to care. Kobe doesn’t need the money!

      Maybe Kobe knows he has a year or two left…and want’s to convince himself and the world that he is still an Elite Player (in terms of Salary).

      If Spurs did that to Timmy in the twilight of his career, I’d be mad a hell…but luckily Timmy knows team comes first.

      That was a dumb move on the part of Lakers.

  14. NomNom says:

    Even I am a Lakers fan, and big fan of Kobe as a Player, I do not agree with his latest contract. According to him and to what I have read, there was no negotiation , they just offered him that kind of money and of course he was not going to decline it. It was not like they offered less and he demanded more , so if this is the case the organization of the LA Lakers organization is the one to blame for this. In another note lakers have it really rough. Even if they get a couple of good players, not superstars, the west is way too competitive for them to shine.

  15. njah says:

    the lrbron app commercial is really annoyimg

  16. OldCelt says:

    If organization cares so much about players then how about a player also care a bit about his organization in return? Just how much money you already made thanks to that organization? Pretty sure 20m for 2 years would be fair, not 50m. Thats 15m more salary space each year, something your organization really needs.

    • gutix says:

      Totally agree. Kobe always cares more about himself, he was really lucky to have a player like Gasol who didn’t mind things like these but he can not get a Dight Howard or Carmel Anthony, Lakers are throwing away their next two years

      • jOLAN says:

        They care so much about their players, but have Gasol in trade talks for the last two years. He was a huge part of getting them a championship. Way to reward him.

      • TTKIN says:

        Im a Laker fan and don’t like the contract either but oh well. Honestly, Id rather give Kobe 48 mill for 2 yrs and lose, than have him take a paycut to get Dwight or Melo, and lose regardless. That’s the thing. No matter what Kobe’s contract is, they aint gonna win the next few yrs. so it really does not matter. There’s only 1 max FA theyd want and that’s Lebron. And they can still afford that max contract (by the time Durant is a FA, Kobe’s contract will be up).

        Btw, kind of odd you would use Melo as an example AGAINST Kobe getting as much $ as possible when it has been proven that one of the biggest concerns for Melo is that he gets paid. That’s why he forced his trade to NY. So that he could sign with them and still get a max contract instead of allowing DEN to keep his bird rights and have to sign with NY for less.