Kobe Bryant told Gregg Downer, his high school coach, in July that he planned to retire when his contract expires in 2016, as Downer tells Mike Sielski of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Bryant spoke in 2012 of perhaps retiring in 2014, so much can happen in two years, and the Black Mamba hasn’t made any definitive public statement. Still, there have been no shortage of hints that the 2015/16 season, which would be Bryant’s 20th, will be his last, and the latest dispatch only advances that presumption. While we wait to see what happens with the 36-year-old who leads the league in scoring so far, here’s the latest from around the league:
- Adam Silver defused a situation that might have become a contentious dispute as the union and the league totted up revenues this past July, satisfying the concerns of the players, sources tell Bleacher Report’s Howard Beck. It’s an example of the more player-friendly approach that Silver has attempted to take since inheriting the commissioner’s office from David Stern, as Beck examines. “Any opportunity where it’s possible to accommodate the players, I’m looking to do that, both as a sign of good faith, but also because it’s better business,” Silver said.
- Thunder GM Sam Presti touted the importance of the draft as a tool for small-market teams to improve as he successfully campaigned against lottery reform, but Silver doesn’t see it as inordinately crucial, as he told Harvey Araton of The New York Times. “I am concerned by the often cited conventional wisdom that finishing at the bottom [in order to acquire better draft picks] presents the only reliable path for some teams to build a championship roster,” Silver said. “The draft is structured to help the teams with the worst records, but it’s an imperfect system. In fact, many top picks do not transform their teams.”
- Steve Kerr has yet to complete the sale of the small portion of the Suns that he owns, tweets Diamond Leung of the Bay Area News Group. Kerr must divest that stake within a league-mandated timeframe after having taken the Warriors head coaching job.