SH Blog: Thunder get back at Kobe for talking smack during the Olympics

  • The rumored Kings to Virginia Beach move appears to be disintegrating, writes Dale Kasler of the Sacramento Bee: “In a possible blow to Virginia Beach’s efforts to lure the Sacramento Kings, the governor of Virginia doesn’t plan to include any subsidy for the team’s move in his proposed budget. Virginia Beach officials were seeking $150 million in state funds to bring the Kings to their city, including a $70 million contribution toward a new arena and $80 million to assist the team’s relocation. But Gov. Bob McDonnell won’t include any subsidy in his 2013 proposed budget.”
  • Pau Gasol's 15% trade kicker is a moot kicker. Because he's near max salary, the kicker is 3.4% rather than the 15% that has been reported.
    Alex Kennedy
  • The Bucks have played about as expected as a unit, but one of the more surprising things has been how Ersan Ilyasova has underperformed. Yannis Koutropis of HoopsWorld has more: “Interior play has long been a source of frustration for the Milwaukee Bucks. Last season they made the decision to move on from the oft-injured Andrew Bogut as their centerpiece, opting to go with a youth movement inside that featured depth with Ersan Ilyasova, Ekpe Udoh, Larry Sanders and John Henson. Bucks head coach Scott Skiles is still figuring out the rotation. As of right now Sanders and Udoh are his starters. Ilyasova originally was a starter after his breakout campaign last season, but he’s since been moved into a reserve role due to his early struggles. … Things appear to be getting better for Ilyasova, who has scored 15, 17, and 21 respectively over the last week. Not coincidentally, the Bucks went 2-1 in those games, thanks partially to the much needed offensive boost from him. ‘We have to share the ball more,’ Ilyasova said. ‘Sometimes we really struggle to score the ball. We play good defense but at some point you have to score the ball to win the game. We struggle a little bit. We just have to share the ball more especially in the second half and down the stretch.’ “
  • Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer reveals that Michael Kidd-Gilchrist had some struggles with confidence before the season, but was calmed down by his coach at Kentucky, John Calipari: “Apparently Charlotte Bobcats rookie Michael Kidd-Gilchrist had a crisis of confidence in the preseason, but his college coach quickly put out that fire. Kentucky coach John Calipari, speaking with local media in Lexington, revealed Friday that Kidd-Gilchrist sent him text messages that “I may have made a mistake’’ turning pro, and “I don’t think I’m good enough.’’ Calipari said he told his former star, ‘What? Are you kidding me? You may not shoot it as well. You may not bounce it as well. But the thing you do, no one else does. So you keep playing hard and competing. That’s what you do.’ “
  •’s Dave McMenamin has a piece on Dwight Howard’s free throw woes: “Toward the end of shootaround Friday, Los Angeles Lakers guard Steve Nash approached Dwight Howard and offered up a couple of tips on how to shoot free throws. Though Howard is shooting just 46.9 percent from the foul line this season, while Nash is tied with Mark Price for the best free throw percentage in NBA history at 90.4 percent, the Lakers center said he’s had enough of people giving him advice. ‘Listen, he was just suggesting some things, but it’s not something that we’ve already talked about or anybody else has suggested,’ Howard said. ‘My mind cannot get clouded with everybody telling me how to shoot a free throw. I just have to go up there and shoot it my way and not get caught up in what everybody else is saying, because that’s when I miss.’ “

Dan Malone is a third-year journalism student at the University of King’s College in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He blogs on weekends for Sheridan Hoops.

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