Posts Tagged ‘Kobe’

Kobe sits for second straight game on Lakers’ road trip

NBA.com Staff Report

It hasn’t even hit the All-Star Break, and resting-the-stars plans all over the league have taken flight. Monday night, it’s Lakers legend Kobe Bryant back on the bench for some rest.

It’s Mamba’s second straight game on the bench — he also rested Friday’s loss to Utah. The Lakers are in the midst of a four-game road trip and play next at New Orleans on Wednesday (On League Pass, 8 ET).

 

Nowitzki, On An Expiring Contract, Reacts To Kobe’s Extension


VIDEO: Dirk Nowitzki passes Kevin Garnett for 14th on the NBA scoring list.

DALLAS — With Kobe Bryant‘s extension finalized, Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki is the next aging superstar headed for a pay cut in his next, and possibly final, deal.

Nowitzki, 35, is in the last year of his contract that pays him $22.7 million, second-highest in the league this season behind Bryant’s $30.5 million. Unlike Bryant, who agreed Monday to a two-year, $48.5 million extension, Nowitzki plans to let his contract expire before negotiating a new deal with Dallas owner Mark Cuban this summer. Also unlike the Los Angeles Lakers future Hall of Famer, Nowitzki appears accepting of a steeper pay cut than Bryant, one more in line with the three-year, $36-million deals Kevin Garnett and Tim Duncan agreed to two summers ago.

“Obviously, it’s good for Kobe,” said Nowitzki, who passed Garnett Monday for 14th place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. “That’s a lot of money for a 35-year-old, but if one guy earned it, it’s definitely Kobe.”

In the summer of 2010, Nowitzki left $16 million on the table when he signed a four-year, $80 million deal to stay in Dallas. That season he led the Mavs to the franchise’s lone championship and was named the Finals MVP after defeating the Miami Heat. Now, Nowitzki is just looking to get back into the playoffs with a roster that includes only Shawn Marion from the title team.

How the Mavs fare this season and then during next summer’s free agency period, where they’ve failed to land Deron Williams and then Dwight Howard the last two summers, could ultimately dictate Nowitzki’s price tag for the coming two to three seasons.

“I have no idea at this point,” Nowitzki said. “My contract is coming off, ‘Trix [Marion] is coming off, Vince [Carter] is coming off and so there’s a lot of money under the cap to make this team better. Like I said, this is Game 13 or 14 of the season, I’m more worried about [this] season than July.”

Bryant will earn $23.5 million in 2014-15 and $25 million (the collective bargaining agreement’s built-in, 7.5 percent pay raise). His salary next season will reflect about a 21 percent pay cut from this season, but the cost remains high enough that it will prevent the Lakers from having the available cap space to sign two max-level free agents. They will have room to sign one, but then little space to do much after that.

In 2012, both Garnett, then with the Boston Celtics, and Duncan with the Spurs, essentially accepted pay cuts of 50 percent from the previous season. Garnett went from a salary of $21.2 million in 2011-12 to $11.6 million in 2012-13. He will make $12.4 million this season and is due $12 million in the final year of his contract. Duncan went from $21.2 million in 2011-12 to $9.6 million last season, $10.4 million this season and $12.5 million in 2014-15.

Nowitzki, who will eclipse $200 million in career earnings this season, his 16th, has stated for some time now that he plans to work with Cuban on a deal that is fair but also helps the franchise maximize its cap space to attract and sign top-level free agents.

“I don’t really want to look forward too much,” Nowitzki said. “I’m not going to extend, obviously. I want to play the season out and then we can talk about the summer. I want to have a good season. I want to have an injury-free season and then [his coach/agent] Holger’s going to take his leather coat and meet with [Cuban] in the bunker suite and we’ll go from there.”

Holger is Holger Geschwindner, Nowitzki’s longtime personal coach from Germany and de facto agent. The reason for not following Garnett, Duncan and now Bryant with an extension, could be two-fold: Cuban prefers to allow contracts to expire, and Nowitzki can gauge how the roster shapes up during the summer before agreeing to years and a dollar figure.

“For me, I want to go back to the playoffs with this team,” Nowitzki said. “We have a real shot at it and that’s really what I’m focused on. I’m not really worried about extensions at this point.”

Rick’s tips: Don’t Count Out Kobe

If Kobe Bryant has taught us anything during his 15-year career, it’s that you can never assume he will miss a game with an injury. Perhaps the best example of his toughness was winning the 2010 championship despite a trigger finger that zigged and zagged like PCH.

Now, Kobe has to deal with a torn ligament in his right wrist, and if you are assuming Kobe won’t play on Christmas against the Bulls, well, that’s probably exactly what he wants you — and the Bulls — to think. We’ll know more about Kobe’s status in the coming days and I’m sure you’ll see the words “game-time decision” associated with his name, but I would not pull him out of my Week 1 lineup just yet.

In fact, I fully expect Kobe to pull a “Big Ben” and remind us, yet again, who the toughest baller in the world is.

Worried about Curry

While I’m not worried about Kobe, I am worried about Stephen Curry, who re-injured his surgically repaired right ankle Tuesday against the Kings. Curry received good news on Wednesday when an MRI revealed that he did not suffer ligament damage, but the fantasy public is left to wonder if this is a “here we go again” scenario.

I drafted Curry seventh overall in League Freak (8-cat, head-to-head), passing on Kevin Love and Deron Williams to do so. My fingers are crossed that Curry won’t miss too much time (I do not expect him to play on Christmas, or any time soon), but if I could turn back the clock I would switch the pick to D-Will.

Yes, I am wearing flip-flops as I write this.

My Franchise Players for the 2011-12 Fantasy Season

If you’re anything like me, you’ve been scrambling around this week, dealing with family, life, work, school, travel, holiday shopping, bills, chores AND drafting your fantasy basketball team(s). Just in case you care, here are the players I have been targeting, and netting, in my fantasy drafts.

Josh Smith, Hawks: His weight is down, his knees are healthy, and with Jamal Crawford in Portland, Josh’s scoring average should rise right along with his blocks.

John Wall, Wizards: Yes, the Wizards still have a long way to go, but I am projecting Wall to approach 20 and 10 with two steals per game. He’s just so nice.

Andrew Bynum, Lakers: I’m not worried about the five-game suspension, as a healthy Bynum is primed for his best season yet. And IF he gets dealt to Orlando in a trade for Dwight Howard, the sky would be the limit as the Magic’s new franchise player.

Danny Granger, Pacers: I’ve had three drafts so far and Granger is on all three of my teams. My adversaries are letting him slide and I am happily adding his versatile stat package to my mythical payroll.

Paul George, Pacers: Granger’s running mate with the Pacers has the length, athleticism, and starting job necessary to become a five-cat monster.

DeAndre Jordan, Clippers: AKA DJ is an OMG highlight waiting to happen. The good news is that all those monster plays show up in the box score. And consider this: DJ could lead the league in blocks, Chris Paul could lead the league in assists and steals, and Blake Griffin could — I stress, could — lead the league in scoring and rebounding.

Stat Gazing …

LaMarcus Aldridge, Blazers: Great to see L.A. return from a recent heart procedure with 15 and 11 on Wednesday against the Jazz. Draft him as you normally would.

Rudy Gay, Grizzlies: If you watch Fantasy Insider (Mondays on NBA TV), then you know I love me some fantasy gold: blocks, steals and threes. Rudy consistently provides each cat each night, but in the preseason finale on Wednesday he had 2 blocks, 3 steals, and 2 threes just to cement the fact his left shoulder is ready to roll.

Metta World Peace, Lakers: MWP shot 4-of-21 from the field in the home-stay-at-home against the Clippers. I love what his new name stands for, but he will not be on any of my teams this year.

I will be back on Wednesday nights and Sundays throughout the season with fantasy blogs here on NBA.com. In the meantime … happy drafting, Happier Holidays and enjoy the five-pack of games on Christmas.

Hang Time Videos

Jon the Intern here with this week’s random video round-up from the team sites…

Over in Phoenix, Jess the Intern (no relation) was given the task of counting the number of high fives Suns’ point guard Steve Nash gave out on a nightly basis. Take a look as Nash’s coaches and teammates try to guess how many fives he gives out a game:

Divide Nash’s 239 high fives by the nine players on the Suns roster who average more than 10 minutes a game and that’s 26.5 high fives, per person, per game. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Grant Hill rocking the latex gloves for the rest of the season.

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In Houston, small forward Shane Battier has a new favorite pastime: He’s picking up a mic. Kobe did it and so did Shaq, but I’m not sure if MC Shane will be cutting a record deal anytime soon. Check him out in action below:

In Detroit, the Pistons have given Rookie guard Austin Daye his own video series, entitled “Daye Walking,” which is modeled after Jay Leno‘s “Jay Walking” segment from The Tonight Show. The premise is simple — Daye walks around and asks random folks simple, general knowledge questions. But it usually doesn’t go well for the participants. Take a look at episode 3: