Kobe, Nash, Boozer, Hill & Wes in 1st unit? (Oct 1 12:00 ET )
Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Wesley Johnson, Carlos Boozer and Jordan Hill were scrimmaging together in the first unit at practice on Wednesday.
The Scoop:"[Boozer] deserves what he gets because he's put in the time and he's been successful," Randle said. "We're both going to be on the floor, whoever starts or not; that's not really my focus or worry." Randle is 19 years old and he's sure to have some growing pains in the NBA, making him a more appealing fantasy target after the All-Star break.
balldontlie : One of these screenshots features Richard Hamilton reacting to the news that the Detroit Pistons had drafted eventual kickboxer Darko Milicic over Carmelo Anthony. The other shows Rip reacting to seeing that teammate Carlos Boozer had painted his head to pretend he wasn’t bald. Guess which one is which.
What seemed like a frightening inevitability earlier in 2014 , thankfully, never came to fruition. The Los Angeles Lakers have let the stretch provision deadline pass on Steve Nash’s contract, ensuring that the future Hall of Famer will not have to retire in the face of having to relocate his family in order to join another NBA team. The Lakers did not announce the non-move so as not to embarrass either party, the team merely let the deadline pass over the weekend. Nash is owed $9.7 million in the final year of a sign-and-trade deal he agreed to in the summer of 2012, and he’s missed 99 out of a possibly 164 games as a Los Angeles Laker, suffering from a variety of crippling leg, back and nerve issues. When it became apparent that the Lakers interest in the provision was a reality, Nash discussed the possibilities in a borderline-harrowing (as far as sports go) video from last winter : The summation was simple. If the Lakers waived Nash, he would be loath to pack up his family and suit up for another team. Though Nash wanted to play in 2014-15, a release from the Lakers would effectively force him into retirement. And though the last two years have been tough, nobody wants to see that. Save for some Laker fans, of course, that wanted Nash’s contract completely off the books (a retirement would allow for that) as the team attempted to rebuild around Kobe Bryant’s whopper of a contract . Using the stretch provision would act as an unholy compromise of the two, as the Lakers would be on the books for Nash’s guaranteed money, but they’d be allowed to divide his deal into three yearly parts, saving the team nearly $6.5 million in potential cap space for the free agent summer of 2014. Late in 2013-14, however, it became apparent that the Lakers were leaning toward keeping Nash and his contract for this season, effectively taking them out of the free agent race before it even began . With Bryant’s contract, various cap holds, Kobe’s long-stated preference that Pau Gasol be offered a contract to remain in Los Angeles (one he eventually turned down), and a high end lottery pick salary slated to be on the books alongside Nash, the Lakers were never really players in the market. When July came and went and the Lakers were left with a re-signed Nick Young and Carlos Boozer to their, um, credit , that assumption played out in reality. The Lakers were never really going to be major players this summer, though, they knew as much the minute Kobe Bryant put pen to paper. What is certain is that, even with Bryant on board for what is likely one final season in 2015-16, the team will have cap flexibility moving forward in the 2015 and 2016 offseasons, and even a reduced portion of Nash’s stretched-out salary (just over $3.23 million) could still get in the way of another shot at attempting to sign help. This is why Nash is around for one more year . The Lakers are still paying the sins for the 2012 offseason, one that had the rest of the NBA red with anger as they acquired Dwight Howard and put together an on-paper backcourt for the ages. They’re also paying, literally, for the basketball sin of choosing personal over pragmatic reasons in extending Bryant to such an outsized rate. Their money, not ours. Nash was always going to get his money, and now he’ll get one last chance at going out on his terms. If anything, we should be thanking the Lakers for that. - - - - - - - Kelly Dwyer is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at KDonhoops@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @KDonhoops
A look around the league and the Web that covers it. It's also important to note that the rotation order and starting nods aren't always listed in order of importance. That's for you, dear reader, to figure out. C : Sports Illustrated Longform . Chris Ballard's full feature on Kobe Bryant transitioning into the end stages of his career went live today, so enjoy spending your weekend poring over it. PF : Bucksketball . Giannis Antetokounmpo's two-dribble dunk for Greece earned headlines on Thursday, but as K.L. Chouinard notes, this isn't exactly a new trick for the Milwaukee Bucks' rising sophomore; in fact, Giannis does this sort of thing pretty frequently. SF : Canis Hoopus . Good stuff from Key Dae on the state of Andrew Wiggins' game as he enters the NBA, where he figures to be able to make an impact early and where he's got to do an awful lot of work if he's to become the sort of franchise-leading superstar that the Minnesota Timberwolves hope he will be. SG : Bright Side of the Sun . A very thorough tape breakdown by Kellan Olson of just how good Eric Bledsoe looked when slotted in alongside Goran Dragic for the Phoenix Suns last season. PG : Chicago Tribune . David Haugh on the relative calm with which the Chicago Bulls, USA Basketball and the NBA — everyone but Bulls fans, really — took Derrick Rose's soreness-induced rest earlier this week. (Rose is expected to be in the lineup with Team USA takes on Puerto Rico in an exhibition at Madison Square Garden on Friday.) 6th : Hang Time . And yet, while coach Mike Krzyzewski made clear after Wednesday's exhibition win over the Dominican Republic that he's not worried about Rose, John Schuhmann wonders whether the U.S. can afford not to take an extra point guard given the uncertainty surrounding him, and what that might mean for the rest of Team USA's roster configuration. 7th : Silver Screen and Roll . James Lamar on what Julius Randle should be looking to take from Carlos Boozer as the rookie and veteran share reps in the Los Angeles Lakers' frontcourt. 8th : Liberty Ballers . Jake Fischer bids farewell to the soon-to-be newest member of the Minnesota Timberwolves, and one of the few bright spots in a dim era of Philadelphia 76ers basketball: "… throughout that constant drab, Thaddeus Young was the perennial glimmer of hope, the workhorse that refused to give in to the status quo." 9th : SB Nation . James Dator chats with Roger Huang, the sculptor who gave us "Achilles," or, as it's been referred to colloquially, "That Sculpture of a Naked Kobe Fighting A Snake." 10th : Statitudes . A fun thought experiment from Justin Kubatko: If pros had been allowed to represent their countries in the Olympics before 1992, who would have made up the 1964 U.S. "Dream Team?" - - - - - - - Dan Devine is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YourManDevine Stay connected with Ball Don't Lie on Twitter @YahooBDL , "Like" BDL on Facebook and follow BDL's Tumblr for year-round NBA talk, jokes and more.