It pains me to write this, but I was never a big Kobe Bryant fan during his playing days, and I regret that fact, immensely. I never had him on my fantasy team. I never watched his games late at night on the east coast. I never applauded his championships and didn’t care much about his 60-point performance to end his career. With that said, his passing hit me much harder than I thought it would, and that was before I found out his daughter was alongside him, which made it all the more tragic. I have come to appreciate him more since his retirement. His business acumen, his desire to succeed in every facet of life, and his willingness to mentor young NBA players and aspiring professionals alike, is inspirational. Those are the types of things that I respect, as a professional and as a parent.

It occurred to me that Kobe Bryant had that Tom Brady effect on me. While my Knicks fandom was not directly affected by the Lakers’ success, I felt as if Kobe had the same suffocating hold on me as Tom Brady and the Patriots have on my Jets fandom. It turns out I was likely envious of the success my Lakers friends were witnessing, while I sat rooting for dysfunction.

Well, over the last few days I have taken the time to watch that final 60-point performance, along with tons of amazing highlights I have seen over the years, and I enjoyed every second of it. The culmination of the career of the immensely talented and competitive specimen that was Kobe Bryant came to a head on a historic night. I have taken the time to understand the competitiveness that drove Kobe, and I wish I had that Mamba Mentality on a daily basis. Seeing that Kobe’s passing has had such an impact nationally speaks volumes to who he was as a player, an icon, and a role model for so many, and he will be sorely missed.

Every year the trade deadline comes and goes. This year there are some intriguing names that could be hitting the market. The next man up mentality is true in all facets of the game, and trades open many opportunities for players to seize. Here are a few deep stashes for the upcoming trade deadline.


Jarrett Culver (MIN) – 17% owned on Yahoo – Robert Covington is likely to be moved at the deadline, and with that, Culver will be the main beneficiary. The Wolves are tanking at this point, and Culver will have every opportunity to show how good he may be. Culver is my top stash and is a potential league-winning pickup.

Malik Monk (CHA) – 12% – There are rumors that Monk may be moved at the deadline. If he finds himself in another losing scenario (see: Knicks rumors), he will likely be able to fill the stat sheet. If he ends up on a contender as depth, move along.

Kevin Knox/Damyean Dotson (NYK) – 4% /1% – The Knicks continue to reiterate that Marcus Morris is staying. I’ll believe it when I see it. If he is moved, and Knox and Dotson see more playing time to show their long term worth, they could provide fantasy value.

Dewayne Dedmon (SAC) – 30% – There is a ton of smoke saying that Dedmon will be traded. He is likely going to join a contender as depth, but if he carves out a role on a team going for the gold, he has shown what he can do in flashes (mostly ratios, boards and blocks) and could be a worthwhile stash.

Sekou Doumbouya (DET) – 7%  – If Andre Drummond is in fact moved at the deadline, a lofty but possible scenario, Doumbouya, who is extremely energetic and athletic, could slide into an important roll for the Pistons. He could be a real impact player after the deadline if things fall his way.

Reggie Jackson (DET) – 30%  – The same rings true for Reggie Jackson. Derrick Rose has taken away a lot of his opportunity to shine, but Jackson could end up being the only scorer left on this team post-deadline with Drummond and Rose rumored to be on the way out. Keep your eyes peeled to this situation.