October 7, 2015 | 5:28 am EDT Update
Byron on whether he could ever see Kobe Bryant playing for another NBA team (After New York Knicks’ president Phil Jackson raised the possibility, Bryant – who will be a free agent next summer and isn’t sure yet whether he’ll retire – told Yahoo! Sports that he has no interest in playing for any NBA team other than the Lakers). “I can’t see it. I mean I can’t see it. I really can’t,” he said. “I think just like Magic Johnson, even MJ (Michael Jordan), who went to Washington (after two years out of the game at the age of 37), but still when you think of MJ you think of the Chicago Bulls. When I think of Kobe, I don’t care what happens, I think everybody will always think of him as a Laker and one of the greatest Lakers to ever play the game.”
It speaks volumes about Bryant’s state of mind that he has no muse for this particular moment. He has spent recent years seeking inspiration from all corners, be it the Arianna Huffington and Anna Wintour types in the business world or his widely known basketball North Star, Michael Jordan. In this instance, however, he has yet to find someone who can truly relate to this particular path. “This is uncharted territory,” he said. “My 37 (years old) isn’t MJ’s 37 (when he returned after taking two seasons off to play for the Washington Wizards), you know what I mean? Nor is it the same team or the same system that he was playing in. It’s much, much different. There’s really no barometer, no (precedent) for training physically, for recovery. It’s uncharted territory.”
“I think he’s at a point in his career that he’s mature enough to accept certain things, and accept uncertainty,” said the Bulls’ Pau Gasol, one of Bryant’s closer friends and his Lakers teammate from 2008-14. “Probably earlier on in his career, he wouldn’t have dealt with it as well. But I think he understands they have a pretty young group — with some talent, for sure. But he also understands he’s in his 20th year in his career. He hasn’t had a full, healthy year for the last three years, pretty much. I think he’s just looking forward to having a healthy year and to compete and have fun and be the player he is, and we’ll see where the team goes.”
Vogel also made adjustments. The Pacers, unlike Saturday against the Pelicans, were more willing to switch on defense, which allowed George to guard the Pistons’ small forward. “I knew what the struggle was going to be,” George said of his new defensive responsibilities as a power forward. “It’s an adjustment. We did some things that we changed up. We had Solomon (Hill) on the fours and C.J. (Miles) on the fours and I was able to play my natural position defensively.”
Anthony Bennett made history by becoming the first Canadian to be named the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft. Now a little more than just two years later, and on his third team, the new Toronto Raptors forward is back home with hopes of removing a far less flattering title from his résumé: bust. “Lots of ups and downs,” Bennett told Yahoo Sports prior to the Raptors preseason game against the Golden State Warriors. “There a couple [things] you got to avoid. There are also a lot of people you have to have in your circle, like family and friends, who tell you to keep your head up. That’s pretty much what I’ve been going through.”
Walton compared Livingston’s situation to one of his former teammates on one of the Los Angeles Lakers’ championship teams. Trevor Ariza after hardly attempting any 3-pointers at the start of his career gradually developed one in Los Angeles and now continues to shoot them at a high volume. Walton smiled and says he has a bet with Livingston that the 30-year-old owes push-ups when he has an open look at a 3-pointer and doesn’t shoot.
Detroit Pistons point guard Brandon Jennings, still rehabbing his ruptured left Achilles, got up some jump shots at the conclusion of today’s shootaround in preparation for tonight’s exhibition opener against the Indiana Pacers (7:30, WMGC-FM (105.1)). He got good lift and appeared not to be favoring the leg he injured in late January. He still isn’t participating in drills, but coach Stan Van Gundy thinks he’s getting close. “He can do a lot of shooting,” Van Gundy said. “He can do a lot of that. He’s getting himself ready, but that’s where he is right now. We’re hoping next week, the week after or whatever, that he’ll be able to do some drill work. But we’re not at that point yet.”
Towering NBA forward Thabo Sefolosha called an NYPD cop a “midget’’ after the officer asked him to leave the scene of ex-Knicks star Chris Copeland’s stabbing in April, the policeman testily recalled in court Tuesday. “He said to me, ‘You’re mad you’re a midget — I’d be mad, too, if I were a midget,’ ” said 5-foot-7 rookie Officer JohnPaul Giacona, quoting the 6-foot-7 Sefolosha. “I personally thought that was uncalled for,” the officer sniffed.
Sefolosha’s lawyer, Alex Spiro, told jurors that his client was as far back from the scene as anyone once the cops arrived — and hurled the “midget” insult at Giacona only after the officer hissed at him, “Get off my block, this is my f–king block.” Cops say Sefolosha eventually lunged at an officer and resisted arrest.
October 6, 2015 | 9:55 pm EDT Update
Charlotte Hornets forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist underwent successful surgery today to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder. The procedure was completed by Hornets team orthopedist Dr. Marcus Cook at Novant Health Charlotte Orthopedic Hospital. Typical recovery time for this procedure is approximately six months. Kidd-Gilchrist suffered the injury with 46 seconds remaining in the second quarter in Saturday’s preseason game at Orlando.
Sam Mitchell told his former SiriusXM NBA Radio pals today that he “absolutely” plans to start Zach LaVine over vet Kevin Martin at shooting guard.
Mitchell told Martin of the decision before the Wolves began camp practices last week. We’ll see what that means for his future here. He’s in the same position as Corey Brewer was last year — able to opt out of the final year of his contract after this season — and Brewer was traded in December. Until today, Mitchell had only said opening night is a long way off when asked about who’ll start where, although he made it pretty clear he’s committed to the team’s youth.
Third-year swingman Shabazz Muhammad walked out after practice today with agent Rob Pelinka, who also reps Jones. Muhammad apparently switched agents over the summer, from Bill Duffy (who has Wiggins and LaVine among many, many others) to Pelinka.
October 6, 2015 | 6:53 pm EDT Update
Byron Scott publicly challenged him to either play defense or get comfortable watching from the bench. “It was the first time a coach has called me out in the media or, in a larger scale in the media,” Young said. “Because everybody pays attention to the Lakers and L.A. is L.A.”