CBS Sports NBA writer Ken Berger on the aftermath of the Kobe Bryant Achilles injury and its implications during his recovery:
Kobe Bryant emerged from the Lakers’ locker room at 10:55 p.m. Pacific Time with his family. He climbed into the back seat of a golf cart, his left foot in a walking boot, dangling off the side.
Someone said, “You’ll get through this, man,” and Bryant replied, “Yessir.” And he was off, driven to the loading dock at Staples Center after tearing his left Achilles’ tendon — in the 3,013th minute of the 78th game of his 17th season of this remarkable career.
“I made a move that I’ve made a million times,” Bryant had said at his locker earlier Friday night, “and it just popped.”
And so much popped with it. The pursuit of a playoff berth that Bryant had so heroically –and now, tragically — fueled was rendered pointless in the wake of this vapid, 118-116 victory over the Golden State Warriors. These 48-minute nights, this stubborn battle to push past limits of pain and exhaustion that should’ve long ago conquered him –- over.
The Lakers pass on re-hiring coach Phil Jackson, Select Mike D’Antoni in hopes of resurrecting their promising season:
Via David Aldridge NBA.com:
Showtime, or a veritable facsimile thereof, won.
In a stunning development late Sunday night, the Los Angeles Lakers opted to sign former Knicks and Suns coach Mike D’Antoni to a four-year deal as their next coach, ending negotiations with 11-time NBA champion coach Phil Jackson. He was believed to be the prohibitive favorite to replaceMike Brown, who was fired last Friday.
D’Antoni and former Lakers, Blazers, Bucks and Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy interviewed with the Lakers over the weekend. But they were fallbacks, interviews done just in case the Lakers, somehow, could not reach a deal with the 67-year-old Jackson, who’d won five titles in Los Angeles during two stints as head coach.
Lakers Win Again Landing Dwight Howard From Orlando; Andrew Bynum To Sixers, Andre Iguodala To Denver
Ken Berger of CBS Sports on the Lakers stealing Dwight Howard from Orlando in 4 team trade as Magic house cleaning continues:
In a stunning move that pushes Kobe Bryant ever closer to his sixth championship, the Lakers acquire Dwight Howard from the Orlando Magic in a blockbuster, four-team trade.
Yes, it’s Showtime again in L.A.
The deal was agreed to on Thursday night and approved on a conference call with NBA officials Friday morning, the Lakers complete a remarkable transformation that pairs Bryant with the top center in the game and a point guard, Steve Nash, who is among the best of his generation. All of this while keeping power forward Pau Gasol.
The Point Forward’s Zach Lowe outlines several teams who fared well this summer during the NBA’s Free Agency signing period:
It’s offseason evaluation time! We’ll be splitting up the team-by-team assessments into several posts over the next week or so, starting here with teams that, at least from this vantage point, have little hindsight-based hand-wringing to do. Other posts will include teams that have us worried, teams that generally stood pat (and whether that was a good thing) and the teams that have us most intrigued based on the moves they made and the directions open to them now. Keep that last part in mind if you think your team had a successful offseason and it is not mentioned below.
For today: The Lakers, Hawks, Heat, Warriors and Hornets made some fairly dramatic moves and should be very happy with them.
CBS Sports Ken Berger with a look at next month’s NBA free agency as it relates to the new NBA economic model:
MIAMI — In the aftermath of a compelling NBA Finals, a championship coronation for LeBron James and his Miami Superteam, the question is — as always — what now?
That question ripples through the NBA, from the biggest of big markets to the smallest of small, especially now, as the league ventures into new salary cap and player movement guidelines that resulted from the 149-day lockout that almost canceled the season.
How do the Heat add to their championship roster? How do the Thunder keep their core together and still have flexibility to make the improvements necessary to get back to the Finals? How does the rest of the league catch them, and more interestingly, which model prevails? The clear-space-and-load-up-on-stars model? Or the patient, snail’s-pace, build-from-within approach?
These questions take on even broader significance in the coming days as executives, agents and players prepare for the first full-fledged free agency period since the new collective bargaining agreement reset the NBA’s economic and competitive model. Read the rest of this entry
Lakers star Kobe Bryant’s new Sports Illustrated feature as NBA Playoffs resume:
“It is 1981, and Kobe Bryant is 3 years old. He runs to his room, grabs his Clippers jersey and yanks it over his head. Then he steps into a pair of shorts, grabs a mini-basketball and heads to the living room to watch the Clippers game on TV. When Joe Bryant steps onto the court, Kobe mimics his father’s every move. When Joe shoots a jumper, Kobe fires one at his plastic Dr. J basket. When Joe uses his guile to get to the hoop, Kobe slides by imaginary defenders, faking out the couch and the lamp. Kobe takes a seat when Joe does, grabs a towel when Joe does and, afterward, takes a shower just like Joe. Though still a toddler, Kobe already knows what he wants in life: to be just like his father. Just like his father. It is 30 years later, and we all know what became of the son.