Kobe Bryant says he gave no thought to leaving the Lakers in free agency, and defended himself against criticism that his extension will hurt the team, as USA Today’s Jeff Zillgitt observes. Most Hoops Rumors readers agree, believing the Lakers will sign another max free agent in either 2014 or 2015. Here’s more from the Association:
- The Bulls seem likely to get a disabled player exception after Derrick Rose‘s injury, but that doesn’t mean they’ll use it, as Salary Cap FAQ author Larry Coon explains (Twitter links).
- There’s no sign of any rift between LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, and as the Cavs and others lurk in free agency, LeBron seems as much a part of the Heat as ever, writes Joseph Goodman of the Miami Herald.
- Wizards president Ernie Grunfeld says he has no plans to make a roster move in the next two weeks while Bradley Beal recovers from a stress injury in his right leg, observes Michael Lee of the Washington Post. Beal will miss at least that amount of time.
- Ric Bucher of Bleacher Report hears from a source that new Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger is getting “considerable direction” from the team’s ownership and front office. “They’re suggesting lineups,” said the source. “Aggressively.”
- In an Insider-only piece for ESPN.com, Jeff Goodman makes the case for why Oklahoma State point guard Marcus Smart could receive some consideration as the first overall pick next June.
- Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports catches up with Josh Howard, who is playing with the D-League’s Austin Toros as he attempts to make his way back to the NBA.
- FIBA approved moving the 2018 basketball World Cup to 2019, as Lefteris Moutis of Eurohoops.net writes. Qualification will take place while most pro leagues are in session, a move that probably isn’t popular with the NBA.
- Mike Woodson made it clear to reporters today that the perception he doesn’t like Iman Shumpert is off base, as Frank Isola of the New York Daily News tweets.
Luke Adams contributed to this post.