Around the Association: Shaq Slams Simmons, Celtics Climbing, NBA Honors Kobe, VanVleet's First ASG Selection, More

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Around the Association: Shaq Slams Simmons, Celtics Climbing, NBA Honors Kobe, VanVleet’s First ASG Selection, More

Chicago Bulls

The Ben Simmons saga is the storyline that doesn’t quit. This time Shaq weighed in on the ordeal, and Ben Simmons was not a fan of Shaq’s opinion. The Celtics are climbing and the Eastern Conference is a dog fight and the NBA continues to honor the life and legacy of Kobe Bryant. That and much more as we take a spin around the association!

Shaq on Simmons: “He’s Acting Like a Baby”

Shaq had some things to say about disgruntled Philadelphia 76ers’ star Ben Simmons on a recent episode of The Big Podcast after Simmons slid into his DMs to complain about critical comments that Shaq made on TNT recently.

Here’s the video of Shaq’s original comments on TNT’:

Honestly, Shaq didn’t say anything out of pocket there. He said that Simmons is a bad teammate and a selfish player, and he needs to learn how to deal with criticism. That all tracks. So, instead of taking the critique of a Hall of Famer and one of the greatest ever to do it to heart and trying to reflect on it, Simmons decided to complain to O’Neal in his Twitter DM’s, once again proving that everything Shaq said about him in the first place is as accurate as can be.

I don’t like talking about the Ben Simmons holdout. I do when the news cycle necessitates it, except for today, because I feel like Shaq is spot on in his critique of Simmons, and I feel like it should be stated that if Simmons can’t take the advice of this legend, who’s advice will he take? When does this end? The 76ers don’t feel obliged to trade him, and rightfully so. They’ll never get back market value for a player of his caliber in a trade after everything that’s transpired, so they figure that they’ll sit on the asset, which they contractually have every right to do.

This isn’t close to a resolution, but I’m glad to see people like Shaq speaking the truth on the matter.

Streaking Celtics

The Boston Celtics are moving on up the Eastern Conference standings after a lackluster start to the season. They’ve now won 10 of their last 14 contests and have been putting on a clinic defensively since Christmas.

The Celtics are now three games above .500 and in the ninth spot in the Eastern Conference standings. But, even in the ninth spot, they’re only five games behind the top-seeded Chicago Bulls as the Eastern Conference playoff picture is shaping up to be one heck of a dog fight.

Jayson Tatum was named to the NBA All-Star Game on Thursday night. The fifth-year forward is averaging 25.9 points, 8.4 rebounds, and 4.1 assists this season.

NBA Honors Kobe with New ASG MVP Trophy

The NBA continues to honor the life and legacy of Kobe Bryant, this time with the introduction of the ‘Kobe Bryant Trophy awarded to the NBA All-Star Game MVP. Every little detail of the design has a unique meaning relevant to Kobe Bryant’s illustrious career. It’s really quite wild. You can check all of the elements in the tweet below:

Fred VanVleet Named to his First ASG

Fred VanVleet went from a four-star recruit from Rockford, Illinois, to an undrafted free agent out of Wichita State who keeps on betting on himself … a bet that he’s continuously cashed in on. VanVleet makes his first NBA All-Star Game appearance later this month at nearly 28-years-old.

VanVleet is averaging 21.5 points, 7.1 assists, and 4.7 rebounds per contest for the Toronto Raptors this season.

Being selected to his first NBA All-Star Game is just the latest accomplishment for the Auburn High School alumn adding to a list that already included an NBA Championship,  a D-League Championship, and a big payday with Toronto. It’s nice to see the underdog defying all the odds.

And Ones …

•   The NBA All-Star Game’s roster is set, with the reserves being named on Thursday night. The player draft will take place on February 10.

•   Anthony Edwards had to get that Micky D’s order in before the post-game presser! 😂

•   Linsanity swept the basketball world a decade ago when Lin scored 25 points for the struggling Knicks in 36 minutes of action after Lin had played just 55 minutes on the season before that night.

•   The NBA released the court design for this month’s All-Star Game in Cleveland. Check it out:

•   Clippers’ head coach Ty Lue said on Thursday night that he doesn’t believe that Kawhi Leonard will play this season due to the partially torn ACL that knocked him out of the 2021 playoffs. Lue also said that he’s not sure of any timeline for Paul George who is dealing with a torn UCL in his right elbow. George hasn’t decided yet whether he will have season-ending surgery or seek alternative treatment.

•   A great read here by Zach Lowe. If you’ve got an ESPN+ subscription, I recommend you check it out.

•   NBA Rookie of the Year, Evan Mobley?

•   Scotty Pippen Jr. was balling against No. 5 Kentucky on the road:

•   A trade!

Author: Patrick K. Flowers

Patrick is the Lead NFL Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @PatrickKFlowers.