Alex Bazzell is focused on his laptop. His eyes track every pivot foot and shot release, and he stores the details away in his memory for future use. It’s late June, and the 28-year-old basketball skills trainer is in his St. Louis home watching film of Bulls forward Bobby Portis to prepare for an upcoming trip to Chicago. Later that night, he’ll mimic the moves he wants to practice with Portis in front of a mirror to replicate them on the court. Suddenly, his phone rings. Bazzell doesn’t recognize the number, so he rejects the call. A text message follows almost immediately. Hey, this is Kobe Bryant. Call me back. At first, Bazzell thinks it’s a prank. It’s not. Bryant wants Bazzell to train his daughter’s seventh-grade basketball team the following weekend—a two-a-day Friday, six hours Saturday, and another two-a-day Sunday: 14 practice hours in total.
MT: Speaking of narratives from your career, there were different ones coming out of Dallas and Sacramento than in your last two stints in Chicago and New Orleans, where a lot was said about your positive impact on young players. Do you feel like you’ve been the same person all the way through, and the situations have just fit in different ways? Rajon Rondo: That’s pretty accurate. What I pride myself on mostly is making the game easier for my teammates. I don’t mind thinking up every play or possession for my teammates if that’s what’s needed. I’m an extension of the coach on the floor.
Also, a Knicks source said the team gave Parker a physical – just days after Parker went through a physical for the Nets. The source said the Knicks were “highly interested’’ in landing Parker in a sign-and-trade deal with the Bucks. One of the Knicks who was mentioned in a potential sign-and-trade transaction was veteran shooting guard Courtney Lee.