NFL training camps opened this week, and, living in Baltimore, it’s hard not to notice the glaring absence of two Ravens legends, Ray Lewis and Ed Reed. Lewis retired, of course, but Reed is still in the NFL, with the Houston Texans. It kind of leaves a weird metaphorical taste in my mouth, like when Karl Malone (a personal favorite for obvious name-related reasons) went to the Lakers. Of course, this is nothing new in sports. Michael Jordan played for the Wizards, Joe Montana finished up with the Chiefs, Bobby Orr left the Bruins for the Blackhawks, and if you want to go way, way back, who remembers Babe Ruth as a Boston Brave?
There’s also the counterpoints: John Stockton never left the Jazz, Steve Young retired as a 49er, Mario Lemieux was always a Penguin (even after his comeback), and of course, Lou Gehrig was the “luckiest man on the face of the earth” as a lifelong Yankee.
This year in the NBA, there will be some familiar faces in new places, and it might be a bit of a shock to the system to see Paul Pierce in black and white instead of Celtics green. One hacker had a little fun with that. Type “nets.com” into your browser bar right now. If it hasn’t been fixed yet, it should point to the Celtics official website (hat tip to Dime Magazine).
And yes, there’s also the players who are still with the team they’ll always be attached to in the minds of fans, even as the team fades from its glory days. A while back on this site, Chris Bernucca argued that the Lakers should amnesty Kobe Bryant. They ended up using the provision on Metta World Peace instead, and now they’ll keep paying Kobe $30 million as he recovers from a torn Achilles tendon. Time will tell if keeping Kobe in purple and gold is worth the money it’ll cost, but they certainly seem to want to avoid him ending up wearing another uniform. And maybe the Lakers’ financial situation isn’t all that dire. Check out our salary cap analysis index and decide for yourself.
Now let’s get to the latest news and rumors from around the basketball universe:
- Kobe Bryant won’t be leaving the Lakers at all if Jeanie Buss is to be believed, writes ESPNLosAngeles.com’s Ramona Shelburne: “Los Angeles Lakers executive Jeanie Buss wants Kobe Bryant to know one thing: He should be a Laker for life. “I want Kobe to take the time that he needs to get healthy,” Buss said Thursday in a radio interview with ESPNLA 710. “I don’t want to see him come back any sooner than when he’s ready, and I know he’ll know when that is. There’s no reason for him to do anything that compromises his health.” Later, when asked by ESPNLosAngeles.com to expand on that comment, Buss said, “Kobe is part of the Laker family and he always will be. There’s not many players who play 18-19 years with the same franchise, and it’s important to us that he has a chance to play his entire career with the Lakers.” “
- The Sixers might finally have a coach, reports Bob Cooney of the Philadelphia Inquirer: “So far, the 76ers have taken more than 110 days to find a head coach, though it now appears they are close to hiring a candidate. A source close to the situation said yesterday that the job “is Brett Brown’s if he wants it.” Brown has been an assistant coach with the San Antonio Spurs since the 2006-07 season and was the head coach of the Australian national team from 2009 through the 2012 London Olympics. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said of Brown to the Denver Post when Brown was a candidate for the Nuggets job a couple of months ago: “We all know him as a lifer basketball guy who lives and breathes the game. He is an idea guy daily, just bubbling over, and we all know that about him. But he’s also a wonderful, humor-filled person who is filled with kindness.” The source yesterday also said that while Brown has been offered the job, there is no time frame for the team to expect an answer. Even if Brown decides to take the position, there most likely won’t be an announcement by the team before Monday, the source said.”
- Before coming to San Antonio, Brown worked for several years in Australia’s National Basketball League, and as Shams Charania of RealGM writes, the NBL is luring talented Americans away from the more prestigious European leagues by promising them something European teams won’t: “As teams in Germany, France and Russia pursued him with lucrative contracts, James Ennis’ agent worked with Heat management to find a club that allows him to leave for Miami next season with an opt-out clause: Australia’s Perth Wildcats. Now when the luxury tax becomes less stressful and injuries could impact the Heat, Ennis has a “good opportunity to get called up next season,” agent Scott Nichols told RealGM. Ennis went 50th in June’s NBA draft to the Atlanta Hawks, and the Heat acquired him in a trade, have been enamored with his talent and let him know all along that playing overseas never was a knock on his ability. Miami has desperately tried to maintain salary flexibility while rounding out its roster. Still, the Heat have 13 players under guaranteed contracts and made clear to Ennis that his deal in Australia gives him a strong chance to receive attention when salary space could open. “No other overseas team would give us a complete NBA out like Perth did, on top of guaranteed salary for the whole year even if James leaves,” Nichols said by phone.”
Power forward Anthony Tolliver agrees to one-year deal with Bobcats.
— Rick Bonnell (@rick_bonnell) August 10, 2013
- The Pistons are interested in Jason Collins, according to Ramona Shelburne and Marc Stein of ESPN.com: “The Detroit Pistons have expressed exploratory interest in signing free-agent center Jason Collins, according to sources close to the process. Sources stressed to ESPN.com that, while no formal offer has been made, Detroit has opened a dialogue with Collins, who in late April became the first openly gay athlete in North America’s four traditional major sports leagues. The Pistons have aggressively remade their roster since the end of last season, highlighted by the acquisitions of Josh Smith and Brandon Jennings. One guaranteed contract shy of the league’s limit of 15, Detroit is said to be intrigued by the veteran know-how Collins possesses and views him as a potential insurance signing in support of its two blossoming big men: Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond. Leaguewide interest in the veteran center has nonetheless been somewhat tepid during the first six weeks of NBA free agency, sources said, but that was not wholly unexpected given Collins’ recent play.”
Greg Oden’s therapist said Oden’s “go date” all along was Aug. 1. Therapist said it was like he “opened the biggest gift he ever opened.”
— Ira Winderman (@IraHeatBeat) August 10, 2013
- There could be an interesting arrangement for the 2015 NBA All-Star Game, writes Tim Bontemps of the New York Post: “The 2015 NBA All-Star Game almost certainly will be played in New York. The only question remaining for the Knicks, Nets and the league is in which arena the game will be played. Despite the sometimes rocky relationship between the two franchises, they are working with the league to jointly host All-Star Weekend, which would mark the first time the event would be held in the metropolitan area since it was played at Madison Square Garden in 1998. “There is progress in that the teams are working together … recognizing that it’s in both of their interests to create a basketball festival-type atmosphere around All-Star in New York, and so things are going well,” NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silver said this week. The key stumbling block will be which state-of-the-art arena — the Nets’ new Barclays Center or the Knicks’ refurbished Madison Square Garden — will host the game. It’s likely the solution will feature one building playing host to the Saturday night festivities, including the 3-point and Slam Dunk contests, while the other will host the game Sunday night.”
Dan Malone is about to begin his fourth year as a journalism student at the University of King’s College in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and spent this summer as a features intern at the Cape Cod Times. He blogs, edits and learns things on the fly for Sheridan Hoops. Follow him on Twitter.