Itâ€™s less than a month until training camp opens, but time is dragging now and there is little NBA news anywhere. The good news is it looks like this Sunday, when not watching the first week of my NFL office pool go down in flames, I can get a basketball fix â€” including some Kobe:
All-Stars LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett, Amare Stoudemire and Dwyane Wade will play in an NBA Players Hurricane Relief Game organized by TNT analyst Kenny Smith.
The game is Sunday at 6 p.m. EDT at the Toyota Center and will be televised by TNT at 11 p.m. Participating players will donate funds and supplies valued at more than $1 million for victims of Hurricane Katrina.
For those of you who want a little fix before Sunday, Eric Pincus has rounded up all the latest rumors â€” including dreams of what to do with that 2007 cap space â€” and if you want to daydream like it was still the warm days of summer (not that its really cooled down any), itâ€™s a good read. But be careful not to get to sucked into the what-ifs and think they will become reality.
One rumor that has picked up steam and is mentioned not only by Pincus but also other publications and their â€œleague sourcesâ€ is a sign-and-trade for former UCLA Bruin Jason Kapono. Jason is not a great defender (an unimpressive defensive rating of 111 last year, 5 points above the league average, and he guarded mostly threes and they shot 52.9% when he was on the floor) and doesnâ€™t create his own shot well. But, he was still a +5.3 per 48 minutes last year (meaning the Bobcats were that much better with him on the floor than off it) and the boy can shoot the three â€” 42.4% since he entered the league.
I guess my only question is what are you giving up to get a three-point specialist to back up Kobe? An early rumor was Devean George, which is way to steep a price, you can get more for George (who is solid and a last year contract). If it were someone less, this would fit in with the â€œI donâ€™t love it but what the heckâ€ bench the Lakers have assembled.
One other note, Kareem met with the media yesterday after his first workout with Andrew Bynum, and the reports are good.
“He’s not a raw kind of talent. He’s got some sophistication to his basketball game, and I think he will progress quickly.”
Donâ€™t expect Bynum to play much this season, but if he can progress next year maybe he starts to see some time off the bench.
Also, keep reading down in that LA Times piece to see Tex Winter will be back as a consultant to teach the triangle. Good to hear.
Finally, the Lakers signed rookie Devin Green, who played well in the Summer Pro League, to a training camp contract. This is a guy who will not make the team, but more bodies are needed in camp.