Morning Shootaround — Aug. 28

VIDEO: Darryl Dawkins passes away at age 58


Remembering Chocolate Thunder | Davis bulks up | Buss believes Bryant worth big extension

No. 1: Remembering Chocolate Thunder — The NBA family lost one of its greatest ambassadors on Thursday when Darryl Dawkins passed away at the age of 58. Our own Fran Blinebury, who covered Dawkins with the Sixers and even collaborated with him on a weekly column, reflects on one of the biggest personalities the league has ever seen…

Some news makes you feel older, more than a glimpse at gray hairs or lines on a face looking back from the mirror ever can. Because Dawkins was the ultimate man-child, light-hearted and perpetually friendly long after he broke into the NBA in 1975 with the 76ers as an 18-year-old out of Maynard Evans High in Orlando, Fla.

Four decades later, little had changed except the age on his driver’s license and when I saw him last February at the All-Star Game in New York, he was still a true original and the most fun person I’ve ever covered in the NBA.

Stevie Wonder dubbed him “Chocolate Thunder,” and no label of sheer power coated in a kid’s shell of sweetness and joy was ever more appropriate.


No. 2: Davis bulks upAnthony Davis finished fifth in MVP voting last season and has seemingly just scratched the surface of his potential. New Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry will help Davis take the next step, but Davis is doing his part by putting on some weight, as’s Jim Eichenhofer writes…

Imagine for a moment living in the foodie heaven of New Orleans and getting the green light from a trainer to eat larger portions at meals, including a recommendation to devour more seafood. It sounds like a dream scenario for any weight-conscious New Orleanian, but it’s been a reality this summer for All-NBA Pelicans power forward Anthony Davis. Entering his fourth pro season, the 22-year-old has worked to add more muscle and bulk to his frame. As a result, with training camp one month away, the 6-foot-10 Davis is 12 pounds heavier than he was last season, up to 253, while maintaining 10 percent body fat.

Without a lengthy commitment to USA Basketball this offseason, Davis has been able to consistently focus on a weight-training routine and modifying his diet. He spent a combined total of eight weeks in Los Angeles and Anguilla working daily with new Pelicans head strength and conditioning coach Jason Sumerlin, who continues to adjust the approach of Davis, a noted pizza lover.


No. 3: Buss believes Bryant worth big extension — The Los Angeles Lakers added some key pieces via the Draft (D’Angelo Russell) and trade (Roy Hibbert) this summer, and they’ll be getting Kobe Bryant and Julius Randle back from injury. But what’s supposed to be the league’s marquis franchise didn’t get any big names via free agency. One thing that may have gotten in the way was Bryant’s $25 million salary, which prevented the Lakers from approaching two big free agents with a package deal. Despite Bryant’s age and health issues, Lakers owner Jim Buss, in a wide-ranging interview with Eric Pincus of the L.A. Times, said that Bryant is getting what he deserves…

Bryant, with one year left on his contract, will be the highest paid player in the NBA this season at $25 million. Buss gave Bryant a two-year, $48.5-million extension in 2013 before he even returned from a torn Achilles’ tendon six months earlier.

Since then, Bryant has played in only 41 games over the last two seasons because of a fractured kneecap, followed by a torn rotator cuff last season.

Buss has received plenty of criticism for over-investing in the aging star, who just turned 37 as he heads into his 20th season.

“The man has done so much for the Lakers and the fans of the Laker nation, he deserves the money,” Buss said. “I don’t understand anybody trying to break down what I did for him. Let’s break down what he did for us, then say, what is he worth? To me, he’s worth that.”


SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: Stephanie Ready will be the first full-time female NBA game analystChuck Hayes is not rejoining the RocketsAn Achilles injury has knocked Alexis Ajinca out of Eurobasket … Mike Conley likes mixing patters and colors … and the Kings are bringing Marshall Henderson to training camp.

ICYMI: The best of Chocolate Thunder:

VIDEO: Darryl Dawkins’ top 20 Dunks


  1. JayPee says:

    “Let’s break down what he did for us, then say, what is he worth?”
    So Buss is basically admitting to paying Kobe more than his current market value, because of his previous achievements? That is poor management and a recipe for failure.. which is clearly happening at the Lakers right now. IF you try to justify that Kobe should be the highest paid player in the NBA this year, then I question your sanity, let alone your idea of ball

  2. Kc says:

    To: Chris Paul, as being the nba players reps. I think that you and labron could send a card or see if the Dawkins family need anything. As he was a part of the nba brother-hood. I know most of the players today never heard of him.But out of respect, it’s the right thing to do.
    Post all Nba-Players!

  3. Harriethehawk says:

    I was shocked when I discovered Kobe is the highest paid player in the NBA this coming season. But I’m reading what the owner is saying and it’s his money to spend how he wants. Hope it all works out for you Faker fans.

  4. boorahbrak says:

    As someone who hates the lakers I think they should sign him for 5 more years and double his paycheck. He’s been invaluable!

  5. Laker fan 4 life! says:

    Kobe is worth that and more, at his current age he’s still better than 80% of NBA players today young bucks and all. How many times have people doubted him, he feed of that stuff. Watch when he takes off this season and shuts all the critics down as he has time and time again. Come on man we ain’t talking about just any old player here, he “Kobe Bryant” the “Black Mamba a legend. I I hope before he retires I get to see him play at least once! Much respect to him and everything he has gave his franchise and fans, defiantly worth every penny spent. Lakers baby!