Dirk Nowitzki remaining with Mavericks as expected

DirkDirk Nowitzki was never a free agent in the traditional sense. The Mavericks’ future Hall of Famer stated time and again that he had every intention of resigning with the only team he has played for. Now, it appears there is an agreement in place that will keep Nowitzki in Dallas.

ESPN’s Marc Stein reported on Thursday afternoon that the Mavericks and Nowitzki verbally came to terms on a three-year deal worth approximately $30 million. The third year of the deal is reported to be a player option meaning that Nowitzki could return to free agency in the summer of 2016. Dirk will also retain his no-trade clause.

It was reported that Nowitzki would hold off on inking any deal with Dallas until the team sat down with Carmelo Anthony. Anthony was in Dallas on Wednesday and met with representatives of the team at Mark Cuban’s house after dinner at Nick and Sam’s in Uptown.

With the meeting over, the Mavericks wrapped up negotiations with Nowitzki. As expected, he took a considerable discount so that the team would have financial flexibility to pursue other free agents this summer.

Anthony has been Dallas’ main free agent target since he opted out of his contract with the New York Knicks. The Mavericks are also rumored to be interested in Houston’s Chandler Parsons, Cleveland’s Luol Deng, and a bevy of other players. Dallas must also decide which of their own free agents to re-sign.

Even though he wasn’t going anywhere, Nowitzki was the most important player to sign this summer. His cap hold on the team hovered around $26 million. It had to come off the books to free up money to improve the roster.

With the rest of the summer shrouded in uncertainty, the Mavericks and their fans can continue to rely on Dirk. And why shouldn’t they? He has yet to disappoint.

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Kobe Bryant’s Kobe Beef…wait, what?

kobebeefHere at The Kobe Beef, we (I) value a sense of levity in our (my) writing. This is no more apparent than in the title of our site. The name came about in a brain storming session all the way back in 2010. It just clicked. I could go into the myriad of meanings behind the play on words but chances are no one is reading this as the site is mostly dormant these days.

Anyway, this little tidbit of visual media was pointed out to me by Rami Michail, a swell writer over at The Smoking Cuban. It seems that Kobe Bryant sent out an Instagram video featuring “Made by Kobe” items. Included in the several “Made by Kobe” products is Kobe Kobe Beef.

The Kobe Piano, The Kobe Pen, Kobe Kobe Beef, The Kobe Light Bulb #madebykobe

A video posted by Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) on

Well, we certainly know something about Kobe Beef. Heck, why weren’t we clever enough to use the Mamba logo on a steak when we branded the site? Wait, we probably would have been sued if we did. Please don’t sue us, Kobe! It’s just a pun!

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LeBron James speaks to the media before game against the Mavericks

Please excuse my sideways video, I am not a YouTube expert.


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Dennis Rodman assembles team for North Korean exhibition

Dennis Rodman and Kim Jong-unDennis Rodman has been on several trips to North Korea in recent years. Vice traveled with Rodman, during his last visit, and a few members of the Harlem Globetrotters to the DPRK and documented the experience. Now, Rodman, who claims to be close friends with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, is back in the communist country.

This time, Rodman has a slew of former NBA players with him. Yahoo! via The Associated Press has the details:

Rodman leads a team that includes former NBA All-Stars Kenny Anderson, Cliff Robinson, and Vin Baker. Craig Hodges, Doug Christie and Charles D. Smith are on the team, as well. They will play against a top North Korean Senior National team on Jan. 8, marking Kim Jong Un’s birthday.

Though Rodman calls this “basketball diplomacy,” it will likely do little to ease global tensions.

However, there is one question that is certainly swirling through everyone’s head: Did Christie’s notoriously possessive wife join him on the trip? For the sake of remaining in a tentative peace, let’s hope she kept Stateside.

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Pistons send Tony Mitchell to D-League

The Detroit Pistons have sent Tony Mitchell, a favorite of this blog, down to the Fort Wayne Mad Ants of the NBA Developmental League. Mitchell was selected by the Pistons in the second round of the 2013 NBA Draft with the 37th overall pick out of the University of North Texas. Peyton Siva, another second round pick by Detroit, was also reassigned to the D-League with Mitchell.

Moving Mitchell to the D-League was an inevitability.  He appeared in only 10 games, totaling 37 minutes on the court. His per 36 minutes numbers of 10.7 points, 10.7 rebounds, one assist, one steal, 1.9 blocks, and 1.9 turnovers are promising. However, with Detroit’s frontcourt composed of Andre Drummond, Greg Monroe, and Josh Smith, there are few minutes to be distributed to a 6’8″ rookie.

Mitchell should hone his skills in the D-League as he will see more playing time. Unfortunately, the move down could hurt his chances of appearing in the Sprite Slam Dunk Contest during All Star Weekend. None of the participants have been named yet, but Mitchell’s dunking ability warrants notice and has appeared in various Vines throughout the season.

There is a dunk contest in the D-League but it doesn’t draw a large audience. The NBA’s dunk contest has been lackluster in recent years and needs revitalization. It needs Tony Mitchell.

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The Detroit Pistons: on the Cusp

Hope again (The Associated Press)

Hope again (The Associated Press)

Summer League brings with it a new sense of hope. It alleviates the summer doldrums that occur after the Finals have ended, the NBA Draft, and the start of training camps. This renewed feeling of enthusiasm is especially true for teams that have been mediocre or worse for a number of years. Perhaps the sense of renewal will never completely pan out in the long-term. However, for a time, it allows for a glimmer of what might be, new heights, and a new beginning.

The Detroit Pistons have not had a winning record since the 2007-08 season. Detroit’s fall from grace mirrored the fall of the city’s overall economic collapse, though basketball had nothing to do with the underlying issues that the city succumbed to. Nonetheless, as often is the case, sports teams are symbols of a city or region. They serve as an escape from the realities of everyday life. For Detroit, though, the Pistons are not an escape. The team and city have been through so much since the Pistons won the NBA Championship in 2004 that it is a distant memory. With Summer League in full swing now, the Pistons, and their fans, may actually have something to look forward to.

With the eighth pick in this summer’s Draft, the Pistons selected Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, a guard out of Georgia. Caldwell-Pope’s best asset is his ability to pull up and make pump shots. With the frontcourt duo of Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe clogging the middle and drawing double-teams, Caldwell-Pope’s opportunities, should he be on the court with one or the other, to get open looks should be frequent.

In the second round, Detroit selected North Texas’ Tony Mitchell. If ever there was a pure athlete, Mitchell is it. (I wrote about him in detail here.) What he brings to the table is an NBA body combined with phenomenal leaping ability. He is also adept at finishing at, but more than likely above, the rim as well as blocking shots.

The Piston’s also selected point guard Peyton Siva, from Louisville, in the second round. Silva is more of a defender than offensive threat, however he manages the pick-and-roll well. This skill will come in handy with the aforementioned frontcourt players as well as Mitchell. Of course, as with all rookies, his skills will only be in service if he sees playing time. Nonetheless, the Pistons hauled a promising young group of players in this year’s Draft.

Perhaps, though, the biggest addition to the Detroit roster is the free agent signing of Josh Smith. Smith has proven time and again that he has the capability of playing at an extremely high level and was one of the most coveted free agents this summer. The Pistons now have a star to build around and many pieces are already in place. However, Smith is not the most refined player. He is prone to taking jumpshots all to often, as shown here. Where Smith is most efficient and effective is within nine feet of the basket. Therefore, his role in Detroit is a tricky one to figure out.

With Monroe likely remaining as the starting power forward, Smith will move into the small forward spot. Drummond and Monroe do much of the heavy lifting inside. With his propensity to take so many ill-advised and low percentage jumpers, Smith could once again drift from the paint with it occupied. If this happens, it could turn out poorly for the Pistons. It will take a degree of ingenuity on the part of new Head Coach Maurice Cheeks to open up lanes and allow Smith to get his shots on the inside.

A solid model to study would be that of last year’s Denver Nuggets. That team took the vast majority of their shots, 55.74 percent, within eight feet of the basket. With so many big men, Mitchell included, who can score well inside, it would behoove Detroit to attempt something similar.

There are still a lot of uncertainties with the Pistons. It is a new new for all respects. Yet, there is reason to believe that this could be the start of Detroit’s turnaround. They had a solid draft and brought in a big-name All Star. Not only that, but a member of Detroit’s last championship team, the beloved Rasheed Wallace, has joined Cheeks’ coaching staff as an assistant. That in and of itself should be reason to take interest in this year’s team.

Summer League has a funny way of leading to the “what-ifs” of the season to come. Detroit’s team has shown promise, especially the play of Drummond. While nothing may pan out, we can all  hope for the best. Right now, that is all Detroit has but at least  the pieces are there to make things interesting until opening day. And that is the joy of Summer League.

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Meanwhile, in Another Dimension… The Heat Lost


This image, courtesy of Deadspin, is a screen capture of the footage the local ABC affiliate in Miami was airing just after Game 7 of the NBA Finals. As you can clearly see, the graphic on the screen says that the Miami Heat lost the game. They did not. Instead they won their second consecutive NBA Championship.

Maybe, however, this was a feed from another dimension, a multiverse even. One where Christopher Bosh must battle the forces of evil. Could this explain the errant graphic on the screen?

Nah. They just gone and messed up. First the fans doubted the Heat in Game 6 as they bounced out of the AAA early and now a local television station outright says they lose. There’s a reason Miami isn’t considered a town with loyal fans. Way to prove that point once again.

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