VIDEO: Highlights from games played Dec. 16
NEWS OF THE MORNING
No. 1: Kobe fine with making — or missing — 2016 All-Star Game — There’s still plenty of time to make your voice heard and vote in the 2016 All-Star Game. With this being Kobe Bryant‘s farewell season in the NBA, will he garner enough votes to get a spot (as it is unlikely he’ll be voted in as a reserve by the coaches)? For Bryant, making his final All-Star Game — or missing it — seem to be of equal value to him, writes Baxter Holmes of ESPN.com:
Though NBA commissioner Adam Silver recently told Sirius XM NBA Radio that Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant “deserves to be” at the 2016 All-Star Game, Bryant said he is fine if he doesn’t make what would be the final All-Star Game appearance of his storied career.
“I mean it would be great to play in it. If I’m not in it, I’m not going to beat myself up over that either,” Bryant said after practice at the team’s facility Wednesday. “I’ll support the game no matter what. Support the players no matter what.”
If the 37-year-old Bryant were voted into the game, it would mark his 18th all-time selection, one shy of the NBA record held by fellow Lakers icon Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Bryant, who is retiring after this season, has started in 14 All-Star Games.
“It would be great, but at the same time I’ve played in a lot of them, so it’s always great to have the younger guys step up and get their opportunities as well,” Bryant said. “I’ve played in quite a few. If I’m fortunate to be there, I’ll be extremely grateful for that. If I’m not, at the same token, I’ll be extremely grateful for the opportunities I’ve had.”
No. 2: Report: Howard doesn’t desire a trade — Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard’s name was bandied about in two trades this week by the SheridanHoops.com web site. Possible deals with the Sacramento Kings or Miami Heat were the two top destinations, but some other teams were in the mix, too. At any rate, Howard more or less shot down that chatter last night after Houston’s loss to Sacramento on Tuesday. ESPN.com’s Calvin Watkins has more:
With the Houston Rockets struggling to get over .500, questions have begun to surface about the happiness of star center Dwight Howard.
While acknowledging Howard is unhappy with losing, sources said Howard has not expressed a desire to be traded.
Howard has a player option for next season at $23.2 million. The team expects him to become a free agent, taking advantage of a salary cap that is projected to expand from $67 million to nearly $90 million.
Tuesday night, after SheridanHoops.com reported that Howard was unhappy playing second fiddle to James Harden, Howard disputed that notion.
“I haven’t said nothing to nobody about anything,” Howard said after the Rockets’ 107-97 loss Tuesday to Sacramento. “I’ve been positive, trying to turn this thing around any way possible. People always going to make up lies or rumors to get off. But I haven’t said nothing or anything to anybody.
“That’s never been a focus. (It’s) to try to get these guys to play better, to make myself to play better.”
In an interview with USA Today after the loss to the Kings, Howard said: “I chose to go to Houston, so why would I just say, ‘I’m not happy’ and leave?”
No. 3: Report: Kings make trade promise to Butler — Veteran forward Caron Butler was added by the Sacramento Kings in the offseason to provide a veteran voice to a mostly youthful squad. While he has done that for the Kings, he’s also had a tiny role on the court. According to ESPN.com’s Marc Stein, the Kings are aware Butler wants more minutes and may have a deal in place to trade him where that can happen soon:
The Sacramento Kings have pledged to veteran forward Caron Butler that they will trade him to a team where he can have a larger role, league sources said Wednesday.
Sources told ESPN.com that the Kings plan to move Butler shortly after Christmas. Butler, 35, has found minutes hard to come by in the Kings’ frontcourt.
The Milwaukee Bucks, Butler’s hometown team, have quickly emerged as the likely destination for Butler, according to sources close to him. He is a native of Racine, Wisconsin.
Off to a disappointing 10-16 start, Milwaukee could be helped by an infusion of veteran leadership after losing Zaza Pachulia and Jared Dudley over the summer to clear a financial path for the free-agent signing of center Greg Monroe.
Butler, who signed with the Kings over the summer, has already had one stint with the Bucks. But halfway through the 2013-14 season, with the Bucks en route to a 15-67 finish, Butler secured a buyout that ultimately enabled him to join a title contender in the Oklahoma City Thunder.
No. 4: Cousins’ manager tossed for slapping Terry — The Sacramento Kings are 9-8 since their 1-7 start to the season and sit just a game out in the race for No. 8 in the West. But, the Kings have plenty of off-court issues this season and you can add another one to the pile. During last night’s win over the Houston, Rockets guard Jason Terry scored on a breakaway layup and his momentum carried him into the crowd. From there, things got strange, writes Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee:
Tuesday’s game had its own drama, as DeMarcus Cousins’ manager, Andrew Rogers, was ejected after making contact with Houston guard Jason Terry.
Rogers knocked Terry’s hand away after Terry made contact with him while running past the basket, following a Ben McLemore dunk.
Cousins ran to that end of the court when he saw what was happening, and security was ready to defuse the situation.
“My biggest thing is, I didn’t want the situation to escalate too far,” he said.
Cousins declined to discuss the incident in detail. Rogers is a close friend who he’s known since he played at Kentucky.
“It just shows I’ve got some ride or dies,” Cousins said.
VIDEO: Fan gets ejected for making contact with Jason Terry
SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: Last night, San Antonio Spurs sharpshooter Danny Green passed Larry Bird on the all-time 3-pointers made list … Solid Q&A with Memphis Grizzlies stalwart Zach Randolph … A deeper look at the unique bond LeBron James and James Jones share … Indiana Pacers coach Frank Vogel sure seems to miss Luis Scola a lot …
ICYMI of the Night: Proof why many consider Andrew Bogut to be the NBA’s best-passing big man …
VIDEO: Andrew Bogut hits Stephen Curry with the fancy dime