Kawhi Leonard close to returning

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November 30, 2015 | 7:33 am EST Update
Still, to most the contest itself was rather inconsequential. In fact, just one question at Bryant’s postgame presser was about the game itself. Instead, everybody wanted to know about the five-time champion suddenly declaring the end of a legendary career. “I’ve known for awhile,” Bryant said. “I’ve always said that if anything changes, it’ll change my mind. The problem is: What does that really mean? You can’t make that decision based on outside circumstances. … Finally I just had to accept the fact that I don’t want to do this anymore, and I’m OK with that.” For now, though, Bryant focuses on finishing out his career, rather than worrying about the unknown that will follow. “I think that question becomes a lot easier to answer when training camp comes around next year and I’m not there,” he said. “I think that question becomes easier to answer. Right now, I honestly feel really at peace with it.”
Storyline: Kobe Bryant Retirement?
For two decades of his NBA career — in reality, much longer than that — basketball had been Kobe’s obsession. It drove his every decision, his every action. But even that had begun to change. He regularly meditates (thanks, Phil Jackson) and it was there he started to realize what was happening. “Sitting in meditation for me, my mind starts drifting, and it always drifted to basketball. Always. And it doesn’t do that anymore,” Kobe said. “It does that sometimes, it doesn’t do that all the time. That was the first indicator that this game was not something I can obsess over much longer.”
Yet, despite the rough start to the season, the Lakers have publicly supported Bryant. Scott, who told ESPN on Friday that he would not bench Bryant for his poor play, said Sunday that Bryant seemed calm when informing him of his decision. “It was so matter of fact and it was so at peace, which, after I thought about it, I felt better about that,” Scott said. “It wasn’t like he was agonizing over it or anything. He was just like, ‘Yeah, I’m announcing I’m retiring.’ He just kind of went on from there.”
On why he thinks now was the right time for Bryant to do this: Kupchak: We didn’t make it easier for him with the group we have on the court, and that’s not to say they’re not a talented group of players. But they’re certainly young and unaccomplished. And at an advanced age, I think we witnessed that it’s difficult to play this game. He’s certainly struggled to play at a tempo and pace that I think younger players and the game is playing today. I think under a certain system with motivation to contend, it might have been different. Maybe he wouldn’t be as frustrated — I shouldn’t use the word “frustrated,” because I don’t know if he is frustrated or not. I don’t think the game would be as hard for him as it appears it’s been for the last month.
Storyline: Kobe Bryant Retirement?

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