A look around the league and the Web that covers it. It's also important to note that the rotation order and starting nods aren't always listed in order of importance. That's for you, dear reader, to figure out.
You're not going to believe this, but Monday's announcement that the Los Angeles Lakers have chosen to pay Kobe Bryant $48.5 million over the next two seasons has elicited some strong reactions across the Internet. Let's take a look at some of them.
C: Grantland, The Point Forward and Sports Illustrated. Zach Lowe sees the Lakers of the present day and next two seasons as "an expensive mediocrity overpaying a franchise star in decline." Rob Mahoney and Ben Golliver have a hard time seeing L.A. being legitimately competitive over the course of Kobe's new deal and don't buy this actually being Bryant's last hurrah. Lee Jenkins terms the agreement "a contract out of the old Collective Bargaining Agreement" and suggests that the L.A. braintrust behind this deal "evaluate[s] Bryant about as objectively as the fans in China who pass out when he walks into the room."
PF: CBSSports.com and Bleacher Report, twice. Ken Berger makes the argument that, in the grand scheme of things, Bryant might actually be underpaid, and that "debating whether he's worth $48.5 million over the next two seasons misses the point that he's been worth so much more than that for so long." D.J. Foster considers it a move the Lakers had to make, and one that could've worked out worse: "Max cap-space wasn't sacrificed, an entire fan-base wasn't alienated, a legacy was kept intact and flexibility was retained." Kevin Ding doesn't see "much downside to this deal," because while locking up Bryant might eliminate some options, it also provides the certainty of securing "all the things Kobe gives them, including the goodwill of having done right by someone who deserves it and will continue to go for it."
SF: Hang Time, ESPN Los Angeles and Forum Blue and Gold. Scott-Howard Cooper considers the Mamba's re-up good news for both L.A. and the NBA's 29 other teams. Dave McMenamin sees the extension as indicative of the willingness to take a potentially championship-forsaking risk in the interest of loyalty. Darius Soriano loves him some Kobe, but he, too, is "of two minds about this extension."
Also, non-Kobe things were written:
SG: 8 Points, 9 Seconds. Tim Donahue breaks down how the Indiana Pacers are straight-up crushing opponents in the third quarter (and, if you're an Indy fan looking for a grey cloud within that 12-1 silver lining, tending to looking less-than-stellar in first halves).
PG: Grizzly Bear Blues and Beyond the Arc. A pair of good reads on what the absence of Marc Gasol means to the Memphis Grizzlies and how Dave Joerger and company might go about replacing their starting center.
6th: Slate. Dave Hollander with an instructive lesson on how Rick Barry, while largely viewed as a very talented jerk in the annals of pro hoops history, actually deserves heaps of credit for being the first athlete to challenge the reserve clause way back in 1967.
7th: Hickory High. Jeremy Conlin with a sobering but entirely reasonable thought brought on by Derrick Rose's second season-ending knee injury: "[...] what if we’ve already seen the best of Derrick Rose? What if what we thought was the tip of an iceberg was, in fact, just a floating shard of ice, pre-destined to disappear before long by the Gods of basketball and knee ligaments?"
8th: Fear the Sword. Sam Vecenie's reaction to a report that Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Mike Brown praised Andrew Bynum's "legit 3-point range" is measured and delightful.
9th: CelticsBlog. Rajon Rondo's playing 5-on-0, which is not as good as 5-on-5, but is better than 0-on-0, I suppose. Get well soon, Rondo. We've had too many injuries lately.
10th: How U. A six-minute supercut of the Portland Trail Blazers' "flow" offense, which is presently torching the NBA to the tune of 107.1 points per 100 possessions, tied for fourth-best in the league with ... the Dallas Mavericks, where Blazers head coach Terry Stotts worked as an assistant from 2008 through 2012 and who run a similar flow system under Rick Carlisle. So much sound screening and purposeful off-ball movement, and so many good looks generated.
- - - - - - -