Darnell Mayberry: The Thunder has added Mo Cheeks to its coaching staff, The Oklahoman has learned. Billy Donovan now has two former NBA head coaches on staff. With Mo Cheeks, Monty Williams and Anthony Grant, first-year Thunder coach Billy Donovan will have three former head coaches at his side.
October 9, 2015 | 10:01 am EDT Update
Such a turn of events would be a godsend for some Lakers fans, many of whom worship at the altar of Bryant. Numerous people around the NBA, however, say Bryant deciding to play beyond this upcoming season would be the Lakers’ worst nightmare. “They’ve got to get rid of Kobe,” a scout said. “You let him walk,” an agent said. “Get rid of Kobe by whatever means necessary,” an executive said.
Many insiders doubt Bryant will take a backseat to anyone, let alone young players. “That’s why I wouldn’t want him on the team,” one executive said, “because I don’t think he’d accept that role.” “When has he ever embraced anything even close to that over the last two-to-three years?” one scout asked. “I don’t think you’re going to be able to change him to be in a role that he’s never been in.”
Talked briefly with Celtics center Tyler Zeller after his team’s win vs. Real Madrid. On the potential stress of contract extension talks: “No stress. I got one more year in my contract. I know I’m going to be here anyway. It’s not like the situation Tristan Thompson is going through in Cleveland. I’m just going to go out and play my game. It’s great if I get (a contract extension) and it’s great if I don’t. Next summer I’m going to be a restricted free agent and it’s kind of an open market and we’ll see what happens.”
Alex Kennedy: Recap: AmeriLeague says they signed Terrence Williams, Dajuan Wagner, Antoine Wright, recruit Ted Kapita. Tree Rollins hired as first coach. Oh, and I left one former NBA player off of the list of players the AmeriLeague announced: former Indiana Pacers big man David Harrison.
Gibson joined Power 105’s “The Breakfast Club” radio show in New York City Friday morning to announce he was leaving the NBA to pursue a career as a rapper. To be clear, Gibson hasn’t played in the NBA since a stint with the Cavs during the 2012-2013 season. Thus, some people on Twitter are suggesting the NBA actually quit Gibson before he could quit the NBA. “I’m gonna give up my NBA career to start rapping,” Gibson said on air. The response from “The Breakfast Club” host Charlamagne Tha God was somewhat comical:
“They’ve been trying to get me to (be aggressive), and now I’m just getting back to it because I didn’t want to come in being aggressive and then be too aggressive,” Aldridge told USA TODAY. “I think it’s better to be passive (at the beginning), and then kind of get into it more, so they’ve got me back to (thinking), ‘You’ve got to still be yourself, but take the good pass and make the great pass,’ and that’s what I’ve been doing.
“People told me that I’m not going to fit in because I’m ball-dominant, I’m a ball-stopper, so I’m not worried about that,” Aldridge told USA TODAY Sports. “I feel like if the Spurs didn’t feel like I fit in, then they wouldn’t have gotten me. I think the things that they wanted was someone who could play in pick-and-roll. I do that. Someone who could score on the block. I do that.
The fan was referencing Bryant’s No. 93 ranking in ESPN’s #NBArank project, which counts down the NBA’s top players for this upcoming season. Bryant, a five-time NBA champion and the third all-time leading scorer in NBA history, laughed when asked whether he’d heard such comments from fans defending him. “Yeah, I heard a couple of them,” he said with a smile after scoring 16 points on 5-of-11 shooting in nearly 22 minutes. “I don’t need to defend that [ranking]. Nobody does, really.”
Gülen and Erdoğan were once political allies. But after nationwide protests of Erdogan’s government in 2013 led to a highly criticized crackdown and 22 deaths, Gülen withdrew his support. A corruption scandal followed, which Erdoğan blamed on a political group formed of Gülen’s followers. Kanter is one of those followers. He’s a vocal supporter of the movement and highly critical of Erdoğan. “If you don’t think the same way the president, he tries to stop you on everything,” Kanter said.
Kanter believes his outspoken opposition is why he was left off Turkey’s Eurobasket roster. “Say you’re playing a sport, you can’t be on national team,” Kanter said. “Say you’re a singer, he shut down all the concerts so you can’t give any speeches. He’s a dictator.”
The last seven years have created a strained relationship between Kanter and his country. Some of that is due to his outspoken mentality. But that’s not something he plans to change. “I like Turkey,” Kanter said. “And if I see something bad, I’m not scared of the president. If I see something wrong, I will say it.”
“A lot of people don’t know, but I like playing off the ball, too,” Lawson said. “Like down screens or I like when somebody’s closing out to me, instead of me being the main focus every time. When James has the ball, I can just space out (the floor) and be just ready. Give me a pass and I can attack too, have a second penetrator and find somebody else.”
Countless times over the years, a player whose ailment was never mentioned, or was consistently downplayed, ends up under anesthesia as soon as the season ends. Quentin Richardson, Mike Miller, Mario Chalmers… the list goes on. So it’s natural to be skeptical about Hassan Whiteside’s calf issue, especially as day-to-day has become week-to-week. Still, there are good signs. Whiteside has not been incapacitated by the issue; he’s continued to do strength and conditioning work. And he said himself, prior to Sunday’s preseason opener, that he expected to return before the regular season, and get into at least a couple of preseason games.
But there is a bigger picture, even if it is one of perception. The head coach of an N.B.A. team is largely responsible for establishing and enforcing standards for player accountability, and now there are questions about what Fisher may have been up to when he left the team over the weekend to see his children, who live in Los Angeles, only to have the incident with Barnes occur at Govan’s home.
Fisher is free to date whomever he chooses, but rest assured there was widespread cringing inside N.B.A. headquarters when it was learned that he has been seeing the estranged wife of a current player, a former Los Angeles Lakers teammate. Shifting though it may be, there is a social line that authority figures should think about at least twice before crossing.
Across town, National Basketball Players Association executive director Michele Roberts mourned the player she celebrated as a young basketball fan growing up in the Bronx. “When I heard about Darryl, I thought, ‘That’s not supposed to happen,’ Roberts said. “It’s too soon.” Seventeen days later, Moses Malone, who had spent the weekend enjoying the annual Hall of Fame festivities in Springfield, Massachusetts, was found dead in a hotel room in Norfolk, Virginia. Those close to Malone say the 60-year-old exercised regularly after his NBA career and eschewed drugs and alcohol. An autopsy concluded the cause of death was coronary artery disease.
A shaken Silver called Roberts the morning after Malone passed away. The players’ association was working on a program that would fund cardiac screening and supplemental health insurance for its retired players. Silver wanted to know how close the union was to rolling out its initiative and how the league could help expedite the process. “We need to get something together quickly,” Roberts said. “You read my mind,” Silver responded.