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Kobe Not Willing to Take Pay Cut to Keep Lakers Together?

Not long ago I was raving about Gilbert Arenas volunteering to take a pay cut to keep the current Wizards together. How much more clear can you make it that you prioritize winning over money than by volunteering to take a pay cut? That’s truly putting your money where your mouth is, or something like that. Anyway, I heard about some comments Kobe made regarding this very subject on KLAC recently. Here’s what he was asked and here was his response:

Hartman: [Mychal Thompson] said that you would accept less money in order to ensure that you keep all the pieces in place so all these great young players can stay with the team. Is that going to be a consideration when you do get a new deal, that everyone stays aboard so this team can stay together?

Kobe: That’s Mitch [Kupchak]‘s responsibility to make sure the team stays together. For me, what I have to do is show up as a player and play the game. One thing that I learned throughout the season is that Mitch might make a million bad decisions, but then he made two great ones this season. Honestly I just lay off of him, he’s done a tremendous job with this team.

So when the pressure was put on him, Kobe quickly deflected and put everything on Mitch Kupchak. Hmm, Kobe passing the buck to Mitch? Why does that sound so familiar? I thought it was quite interesting that Kobe had the opportunity to say he’s willing to take a pay cut to keep this team together but he wouldn’t volunteer publicly to do so. Then again this is the same guy who couldn’t get along with Shaq forcing the Lakers to break up what could have been one of the NBA’s great dynasties. Why would we expect him to volunteer to sacrifice a paycheck to win?

Jay-Z has LeBron’s Back: Rips DeShawn with New Song

OK, so you pretty well know about Gilbert Arenas talking smack on the Cavs prior to their playoff series saying that he wanted Cleveland in the post-season. DeShawn Stevenson got into the act as well, adding that LeBron was overrated. LeBron laughed it off, equating it to Soulja Boy making a crack about Jay-Z. Well, we all know how close LeBron and Jay-Z are, so apparently LeBron had Jay-Z go to bat for him:

LeBron twice said, “There is no LeBron-DeShawn rivalry.” But he had reinforcements behind the scenes, big guns that came out Friday night at a club called Love.

That’s right, in the wee hours of Friday night at Love, the Northeast club which hosted Gilbert Arenas’ million-dollar 25th birthday party last year, the deejay played a new cut by Jay-Z. The hip-hop icon actually cut it Friday and had it downloaded for a party hosted by LeBron James at the club that night. Stevenson was told that the lyrics just eviscerated him — in his own town.

That’s when you know you have some pull — when you have a superstar rapper like Jay-Z customizing personal songs for you. Even Gilbert was impressed that Jay-Z made a song for LeBron. So DeShawn invites Soulja Boy to a game, LeBron responds by having Jay-Z write a song. How’s that for a tradeoff. Also as a note, Stevenson says the whole trash-talking started when LeBron cracked on DeShawn within earshot of Drew Gooden (Stevenson’s best friend from their days in Orlando). I’m guessing Gooden must have passed word along once the Cavs traded him away to Chicago. Good thing — it sure has provided us plenty of entertainment.

So Michael Jordan Could Dunk Pretty Well

Yeah, little bit of a newsflash for you just in case you hadn’t heard. We’ve all seen many of MJ’s highlight reel dunks over his career. But there is one Henry shared on True Hoop that I had never before seen. If this were an MJ DVD, it would be in the special features section. When was the last time you saw 23 shatter a backboard in Italy?

That was pretty sick. Oh, the beauty of YouTube.

Mike Bibby Calls Out Celtics Fans

After getting run out of the building on Sunday by the East’s top-seeded Celtics, the Hawks didn’t have much going for them. Mike Bibby’s boys were embarrassed, so he had to save face somehow. He elected to do so by getting off this blast on Celtics fans:

“They were kind of loud in the beginning, but a lot of those fans are bandwagon jumpers trying to get on this now. I played here last year, too (with the Sacramento Kings), and I didn’t see three-quarters of them. They’re for the team now and they might get a little rowdy, but that’s about it.

Fair-weather fans?

“You could say that,” [Bibby] said. “I remember them having bags over their heads. It’s a different look. I guess that’s what happens when you win.”

It’s amazing how much things change in only a year. The Celtics go from being an embarrassment getting criticized for trying to tank to becoming the top team in the league. Though Bibby is right in saying that all the fans weren’t there before, I’m not sure I would call them bandwagon fans. I have been quite explicit about saying you shouldn’t support a team if you don’t believe in the management, ownership, or the direction they’re going. I wouldn’t have shown up at Celtics games to watch that crap team last year, but once they acquired KG and Ray, I woulda been buying tickets. Fair weather? I’d go with practical. Fair weather fans are the Rockies fans who showed up only in October though it was the same team all year, or the Hornets fans in April though it was the same team winning games back in December. Now let’s see Bibby’s Hawks get a win — that’s really what he should be worried about.

Soulja Boy Disrespected by LeBron

This is the ultimate laugh your ass off scenario. During the week I was pretty upset with Gilbert Arenas for calling out the Cavs saying that he wanted to face them in the playoffs. It wasn’t just Gilbert who called out Cleveland — his teammate DeShawn Stevenson joined in the party calling LeBron overrated. LeBron pretty much laughed it off saying, “With DeShawn Stevenson, it’s kind of funny. It’s almost like Jay-Z [responding to a negative comment] made by Soulja Boy. It doesn’t make sense to respond.” Apparently the word made its way around to rapper Soulja Boy, and he wasn’t too happy to hear the quote:

“Someone from Interscope Records called me and sent me the quote,” Way said. “I looked and didn’t really think much about it. LeBron said something like he was Jay-Z and DeShawn [Stevenson] is Soulja Boy. I took that as [disrespectful].”

Of course you should take it as disrespectful — LeBron was dissing you both. He was using you as his figure for comparison — he called you a one-hit wonder — a hack who can’t hold a candle to the real deal. Kinda reminds me of Roy getting “Munsoned” in Kingpin. In the end, we must have sympathy for poor Soulja Boy’s plight — after all, he did nothing to get himself in the middle of this but make a cheesy song. And looks like the Wizards are already eating their words down 1-0. Smart move fellas, smart move.

Baron Davis Out Partying Night Before His Benching?

Much of the talk on sports shows on Tuesday revolved around Don Nelsons’ benching of Baron Davis for the entire second half Monday night. With the Warriors’ loss on Monday, Golden State was eliminated from the playoffs despite sporting a winning percentage just shy of .600. Baron shot 2-13 in the first half — a slump for which you’d think he’d be left in to work out. Not the case. So why exactly was Baron left on the pine the entire second half? Nobody knows. But thanks to Brett Edwards’ research at FanHouse, we might have an idea why. From the Arizona Republic:

Golden State’s Baron Davis was gone. He was benched for the second half by Warriors coach Don Nelson after a 2-for-13 first half and a Sunday night birthday party in the Valley.

“I gave Baron a much-needed rest in the second half,” Nelson said.

Sure enough, checking Baron’s player profile tells us that his birthday was in fact on Sunday — the 13th of April. While nobody outside of the people at Baron’s party and inside the Golden State locker room can ever be certain about the situation, this sure fills in a few holes to the story. I honestly can’t believe that players would be out partying like that the night before games of such momentous importance, but Baron’s never struck me as a player with elevated levels of maturity. I hope this wasn’t the case, at least for the sake of Warriors fans. It would be hard to forgive him if this were the case. Between Baron and Melo, looks like all you have to do to win in the NBA is stay sober.

Gilbert Already Talking Smack on Cavs

Gilbert being Gilbert once again decided to go out on a limb and say something in his blog he probably would have been best off keeping to himself. Ordinarily I’m in favor of Gil speaking his mind because it brings us that much closer to him as fans. But if I were his coach and teammates, I’d be certifiably pissed about his latest words.

I think everybody wants Cleveland in that first round. They’ve been a .500 team ever since they made that trade and everybody wants a chance at that matchup.

We want Cleveland for our own reasons, we don’t think they can beat us in the playoffs three years straight. It’s hard to beat a team three years straight. We want to try our luck.

Come on, Gilbert. What are you thinking? Giving Cleveland bulletin board material entering a playoff series? And honestly Gil, the Cavs have owned you; you have no right to speak. Maybe there was a slight chance Cleveland overlooked Washington because they had beaten them two years in a row had Gilbert kept his mouth shut. Now? Gil’s awakened a sleeping giant. Arenas has nothing left but to deliver after making these remarks.