“If you weren’t in on them for the last few years,” says DeRozan, a longtime Kobe model enthusiast, “you’re having a tough time.” Kobes are now considered “deadstock,” taking them into a vintage market that ups the ante. NBA players have chased deadstock shoes for years, often to add to their collections to wear or display off the court. Miami Heat forward P.J. Tucker is known for wearing high-end vintage models in games, but he’s an outlier.
The current situation around Kobes is a whole new game, even for players paid to wear Nikes. Giddey, who signed a multiyear deal with Nike before the season, and players like him are spending more than $1,500 on pairs of Kobes right now as they try to stock up for this season and beyond. Their agents are sniffing around for them, calling in favors and hunting the secondary market for their clients, but without much success. "I've had a few guys reach out to me for help," says Phoenix Suns star Devin Booker said. "I'll never run out of Kobes."
The rumors of the end of the Bryant family agreement with Nike started circulating last season before becoming official in April. Nike reps quietly told team equipment managers to prepare their Kobe guys for an end. "Some of us got the word, and we started hoarding them," says Suns forward Jae Crowder. "By the time the news came out, I had banked up enough for about two years."
Either way, as this season rolls on and the supplies of the remaining Kobes begin to dwindle with no replacements, the demand for the late Hall of Famer's beloved shoe design will only increase. In a time when some players are dabbling in cryptocurrency investments, there might be a new exchange developing as more players get desperate. "I've always had so many pairs, but I'm looking at them differently now. Guys are asking me [for them], but I can't go through them like I did," DeRozan says. "If it gets bad, I may have to even go to my secret vault."
November 30, 2021 | 8:00 am EST Update
So what do the Knicks do now with their prized offseason addition? Multiple league sources believe the Knicks will look to trade Walker, whose value on the trade market, much like his production, is at an all-time low.
However, league sources believe Walker’s value has the potential to change as the Knicks get closer to the Feb. 10 trade deadline and teams get more desperate to add a veteran who, despite his defensive shortcomings, has shown he can still make shots, albeit in a more limited capacity.
A source close to the Knicks indicated New York may also have a potential trade partner in the Houston Rockets, who are eager to move John Wall. Like Walker, Wall has had his share of injuries that have factored heavily in him not playing at the level that made him an All-Star from 2014 to 2018. In fact, Wall hasn’t played in an NBA game since April 23, 2021. And while Wall not playing in Houston was agreed upon by both sides earlier this season, he and the Rockets are reportedly having conversations about a return to the active roster.
It was the first meeting of the teams since the dustup between Jokic and Miami’s Markieff Morris on Nov. 8. Morris committed a hard take foul that the Nuggets felt was overzealous; Jokic responded with a shove into Morris’ back. Morris has now missed 11 games with what the Heat have described as a neck injury. Jokic said he hasn’t talked to Morris since. Heat fans booed Jokic every time he touched the ball, and the reigning MVP didn’t seem to mind. “I played in Serbia, brother,” Jokic said.
Jokic, 26, has not talked with Morris since the shoving leading to him receiving a one-game suspension. His adversary has been sidelined with a neck injury missing the next 11 games. His brothers, Strahinja and Nemanja, were in attendance, as promised. They were sitting behind the Nuggets bench. “To be honest, they were coming to Miami every year that was possible. They missed the last couple of years because of COVID with no fans,” the reigning NBA MVP explained, “It is very cool to have them by your side.”
Among the people who have reached out to Blake Griffin since the Nets benched the veteran center/forward has been DeAndre Jordan, whom Steve Nash sat last season for more than a month. Griffin cannot help the team on the court, so he is trying to see how he can contribute from afar. “I have had great examples, DeAndre last year — he is a guy that I talked to, that reached out,” Griffin said Monday at practice, his first time speaking publicly since the Nets minimized his role. “A lot of the guys from last year reached out. [Jordan] did a really great job with it. I told him that. That is how I am going to try to do it as well.” Griffin said he understands why LaMarcus Aldridge is starting over him, but the outright benching came as a surprise. “LA has been playing unbelievable,” Griffin said of Aldridge. “So I totally get starting him, especially [with] Joe [Harris] out. “Being completely out of it though, I didn’t necessarily see that coming.”
Mirjam Swanson: Paul George: “It’s not time to panic, we know we’re not playing well but all of it is self-inflicted with our turnovers — starting with me. We clean that up, we give ourselves a chance.”
Jonas Valanciunas wasn’t exactly a marksman when he entered the NBA in 2012. In fact, in his first five seasons in the league, he went 1-of-4 from 3-point range. But those days are long gone. Valanciunas hit his first seven 3-pointers on Monday night — all in the first half — as he helped lead the New Orleans Pelicans to a 123-104 win over the LA Clippers. The 6-foot-11, 265-pound bruiser has slowly started to add the three-point shot to his game since 2017, but he’s never had a night like Tuesday when he scored a career-high 39 points to go along with 15 rebounds. “Guys were calling him Dirk Valanciunas,” Pelicans coach Willie Green said, referencing Dallas Mavericks great Dirk Nowitzki. “But we want him shooting the ball when he’s open and mixing it in. He still wants to go to the post, which I love about him. He’s a physical guy. But just explaining to him how it’s going to open our offense up with his ability to shoot the ball the way he can, it was amazing to see tonight.”