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Basketball Wiretap
Basketball news gathered from around the net.

Silver Believes Some Teams Are Going Through 'Legitimate Rebuilding Process'

Adam Silver believes the public perception of tanking is a bigger issue than what teams are actually hoping to accomplish.

"I absolutely don't think any team is trying to lose," Silver said in an interview with ESPN's Andy Katz for "Outside the Lines."

"No player is going out there to lose," Silver continued. "In terms of management, I think there's an absolute legitimate rebuilding process that goes on. It's so hard to win in this league, and it's so complex.

"I think what's happened in the case of Philadelphia -- their strategy has been reduced into a tweet. This notion 'be bad to be good.' ... When it gets reduced into a headline, I understand the reaction."

The Philadelphia 76ers have a 2-23 record and have drafted players with pre-existing long-term injuries each of the past two seasons.

Via Andy Katz/ESPN

Lin Understands Kobe's Game-Winner Attempts, But 'I Would Love To Shoot Some'

Jeremy Lin had a diplomatic answer to Kobe Bryant's game-winner attempt in the Los Angeles Lakers' loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday.

"How many game winners has he hit like that?" Lin asked, referencing Bryant. "I'm obviously rooting for him to hit that shot. I thought it was a good look. It was a very, very hittable shot. That's just a matter of time before he starts hitting those game winners."

"I like game winners too. I would love to shoot some," Lin added. "But I get it. That guy is kind of the king of game winners. He's going to hit that shot. He'll figure it out. That's why he is who he is."

Bryant has now missed 12 consecutive potential tying or go-ahead shots in the final five seconds of the fourth quarter or overtime, which ties for the longest such streak in his career.

"It was the shot I wanted to get," Bryant said. He also had eight assists and eight rebounds in 35 minutes.

"I was trying to figure out if I had time to draw contact. It just threw me off a little bit."

Via Baxter Holmes/ESPN

Elfrid Payton Not Trying To Emulate Rondo's Game

Elfrid Payton has frequently drawn comparisons to Rajon Rondo as they are both pass-first point guards who struggle with their perimeter shot and can play lockdown defense.

"It is what it is," Payton answered about the comparisons. "People are just doing their job: comparing people and things like that. I don't really try to be him. I could take pieces from his game from him. He's a good player. He's been successful. He's got a ring. But just like other players, you try to take a piece of their game from them."

As a rookie during the 2006-07 season, per 48 minutes, Rondo averaged 13.1 points, 7.7 rebounds, 7.8 assists and 3.6 turnovers.

Per 48 minutes, Payton entered Wednesday's game averaging 12.7 points, 6.5 rebounds, 9.6 assists and 4.4 turnovers.

Via Josh Robbins/Orlando Sentinel

ROY Winner Has Led In Combined Per-Game Stats For 26 Of Past 27 Awards

Last season, Kevin Pelton found that 25 of the previous 26 ROY awards had gone to the rookie with the highest combined averages of points, rebounds and assists per game. Michael Carter-Williams, the 2014-15 winner, made that 26 of 27.

Andrew Wiggins is now the favorite to win Rookie of the Year following the season-ending injury to Jabari Parker.

Parker was leading rookies in that combined category at 19.5, followed by Wiggins at 17.8, Nerlens Noel at 16.2 and Zach LaVine at 15.1.

The one ROY in the past 27 seasons not to lead rookies in combined per-game stats was Amar'e Stoudemire, who finished a combined 0.1 behind Yao Ming in 2003-04.

Via Kevin Pelton/ESPN

Ranadive Wants Kings' Next Coach To Be Offensive-Minded 'Jazz Director'

Vivek Ranadive wants the next head coach of the Sacramento Kings to be an offensive-minded "jazz director."

Ranadive discussed Malone's firing and the Kings' coaching search in an interview Tuesday with ESPN's James Ham, saying that he wants a coach who will help showcase the players' offensive talents.

"Defense is great, but we need defense and offense," the Kings owner said. "We need to go from a rules-based organization, which was important when you had chaos, to a values-based organization -- from kind of a programmatic offense, to a read-and-respond, free-flowing offense.

"I like to use a music metaphor. We had a Sousa marching band, which was needed when there was chaos. But now we need to shift to a jazz band, where people can be individually showcased and improvised. What we need is a jazz director. I think that's the kind of leadership moving forward."

Via James Ham/ESPN

Durant Strongly Refutes Notion Players Don't Want To Play With Kobe

Kevin Durant refuted the notion that players around the NBA don't want to play with Kobe Bryant.

"Excuse my language, but that's (expletive)," said Durant, who congratulated Bryant via text message after he surpassed Michael Jordan on the all-time scoring list on Sunday. "I want to play with a winner every single night, especially somebody who wants to win that bad, who works that hard, who demands a lot, who raises up your level. I'd want to play with a guy like that every day. ... (His style) may make people uncomfortable, how he acts and just how he approaches the game, but I love that type of stuff. I think (the accusation) is BS."

Durant was asked what he most admires about Bryant.

"Just his work ethic, just his demeanor man," Durant said. "He doesn't mind being an (expletive), and he comes to work man. He's intense. He demands a lot out of his teammates, and I've seen that just playing alongside him in the Olympics (in 2012). He demands a lot out of everybody. He makes them better. Everybody out on the court. You've got to respect that. As a player, I study guys like that. We might not have the same personality, but I think we approach the game the same way and I've learned a lot from just watching him."

Via Sam Amick/USA Today

Kobe: You Can't Get To Supreme Level Without Channeling Dark Side

Kobe Bryant acknowledged the difficulties of having the type of personality that strives to become one of the best ever as he passed Michael Jordan on the all-time scoring list.

"I think competitive nature is something that frightens a lot of people," Bryant said. "When you peel back truly what's inside of a person to compete and be at that high level, it scares a lot of people that are comfortable just being average. 

"I think if you look at Michael's retirement speech, people really got a chance to see how he ticks. It scared a lot of people, right? But that's just the reality of it. You can't get to a supreme level without kind of channeling the dark side a little."

Via Ramona Shelburne/ESPN

Kings To Use Version Of 4-On-5 Defense

With Michael Malone fired, the Sacramento Kings are expected to use version of Vivek Ranadive's four-on-five defense to create cherry-picking baskets.

"(Vivek Ranadive) played the part of a fantasy league owner, treating the Kings like a science experiment. He shared tactical experiences with Malone about coaching his child's youth team, and pressed him to consider playing four-on-five defense, leaking out a defender for cherry-picking baskets."

The Kings will be coached by Ty Corbin on an interim basis with George Karl and Chris Mullin mentioned as permanent candidates.

Via Adrian Wojnarowski/Yahoo! Sports

Jimmy Butler Credits Mentorship Of Deng For Development

Jimmy Butler credits the mentorship of Luol Deng for his development this season.

The Chicago Bulls traded Deng to the Cleveland Cavaliers last season and Butler has since become Tom Thibodeau's most indispensible two-way player.

"It's crazy how everything works," Butler said. "Lu is the main one who always told me to be ready and keep working on my game and be confident. He told me I belonged here. Stuff like that goes a long way and that's stuff that everybody doesn't see and hear. Lu is a key part to me keeping my head into the game.

"He taught me a lot of the stuff I'm doing now. He always had confidence in me. I miss that guy."

Via K.C. Johnson/Chicago Tribune

LeBron Has 'Expanded Rest Of His Game' While Athleticism Declines

LeBron James only has six dunks in the halfcourt this season as his game evolves while getting older.

ESPN.com published a pair of stories on Thursday examining James' place in the league as a 12-year veteran.

One quoted an advance scout as saying, "The LeBron who could dunk on any player at any time is probably gone. ... He's probably never been a better basketball player than he is right now, though." The other noted how James had only six dunks in the Cavs' half-court offense through his first 20 games.

"It's funny you say that because a family member of mine sent me the same message you just talked about," James said. "You can look at it in a bad way or a good way. I've expanded the rest of my game. I'm still out there making plays. My athleticism, obviously I'm not the 18-year-old kid that I was before. But I can still do the things I need to do to be successful."

Via Dave McMenamin/ESPN

Brett Brown Upset By 76ers' Decision To Trade Brandon Davies

Brett Brown said "there is a human side of it that bothers me because you are trying to grow chemistry, you are trying to grow a culture."

Steve Kerr Using Seahawks' Practice Atmosphere After Visiting Carroll

Steve Kerr picked up a lot about how to set a practice vibe from Pete Carroll.

Byron Scott Considering Starting Kobe At Point Guard

Kobe Bryant played point guard for all but the final 34 seconds of the fourth quarter of the Lakers' win over the Kings.

Knicks' Players Don't Like Triangle, Hope To Run Different System

The Knicks feel like other teams know what they are going to run and where they're going on the court.

Wolves Ready To Turn Season Into Rebuild Instead Of Retool

The Wolves could now look to trade some of their veteran players.

Dellavedova Reminds LeBron Of Norris Cole

Matthew Dellavedova's defense against opposing guards has become invaluable.

Magic Johnson Hopes Lakers Lose Enough To Keep Pick

Magic Johnson believes the Lakers are in a position to quickly improve their roster.

Masai Ujiri: Raptors At Letting-Players-Grow Stage

The Raptors have six players on expiring contracts worth a total of $30 million with only Amir Johnson and Lou Williams being defined as core assets in that group.

Kerr: Not Trading Klay Thompson For Love Has 'Worked Out'

The Warriors play the Wolves on Monday for the first time since their trade talks in the offseason regarding Kevin Love for Klay Thompson.

Price, Davis Replace Lin, Boozer In Lakers' Starting Lineup

Ronnie Price and Ed Davis have replaced Jeremy Lin and Carlos Boozer in the Lakers' starting lineup heading into Sunday's game.

Lacob: Biggest Issue With Mark Jackson Was Refusal To Hire Best Assistant Coaches

Joe Lacob cited Mark Jackson's unwillingness to hire better assistant coaches as one of the reasons for his dismissal.

Steve Kerr Compares Warriors' Two-Way Balance To 01-02 Kings

The Warriors rank first in defensive efficiency and fifth on offense to start the season.

Cavs Fixed Issues Moving LeBron To PG Duties, Irving Off Ball

Kyrie Irving has been able to be a scorer and better defensive player since LeBron James took over point guard duties.

Popovich: Spurs' Core Guys Care About Quality Of Life, Falls Into Way They Play

The Spurs have been able to keep Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili while building a high quality supporting cast around them due to their willingness to take less money.

Stan Van Gundy: We Have A Messed Up Team

Stan Van Gundy believes the Pistons played harder in the preseason.

Lakers Have Never Seen Kobe So Patient With Teammates

The Lakers aren't playoff contenders and Kobe Bryant hates losing, but he doesn't hate this season or this team.

LeBron: I Don't Have A Position, I'm Just A Ball Player

LeBron James has largely been considered a small forward, but a positional category has probably never applied to him due to his versatility.

Kawhi Leonard's Offseason Homework Was Studying Jordan's Post-Game

Kawhi Leonard said that part of his homework in the offseason was studying tape of Michael Jordan's post-up game.

Kyrie Irving Accepting Most Defensive Responsibility Of Career

Kyrie Irving has taken an elevated defensive responsibility, admitting that he is taking the most burden on that end in his four-year career.

Rose: My Confidence Is Through The Roof, I Just Need To Play

Derrick Rose had 21 points and four rebounds in the Bulls' win on Friday.
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