HoopsHype Kobe Bryant rumors

April 17, 2014 Updates

While the Lakers (27-55) played their season finale, Kobe Bryant was already beginning his off-season, leaving for France either Tuesday or early Wednesday with family members, The Times learned. A team spokesman said he was unaware of the situation and referred a reporter to Bryant's agent, Rob Pelinka, who could not be reached for comment. Bryant later sent a tweet from overseas, saying how bad this season was: "Flush it. Forget it #amnesia Next Season will be epic." He added hashtags with the word "blackout," a reference to his famously difficult workouts, and "bussfam," a supportive nod, if not nudge, to the Buss family. Los Angeles Times

April 16, 2014 Updates

Kobe Bryant has been cleared to resume running and shooting and will begin an intense, six-month training program next week upon his return from a short family trip to Europe, sources with knowledge of the situation told ESPN. Bryant has been ramping up his activity level in recent weeks as he continues to recover from a fracture in his left knee suffered during the Lakers' victory Dec. 17 at Memphis, just six games into his return from a ruptured Achilles. ESPN.com

April 15, 2014 Updates

The Lakers' radio and TV affiliates had been notified: Bryant would grab a microphone and say a few words on fan appreciation night at Staples Center before Sunday's game against Memphis. He didn't show up. Nick Young took his place and thanked Lakers fans before tipoff, calling them "the best in the world." Los Angeles Times

It was a surprise to many, including Lakers radio play-by-play broadcaster John Ireland, who announced to listeners that Bryant was about to talk to fans before correcting himself, "No, wait. It's Nick Young." Bryant arrived late to the game because of a migraine, a team spokesman said. The Lakers lost, 102-90. Los Angeles Times

April 14, 2014 Updates
April 13, 2014 Updates

Dirk, you see, is Durant's favorite active player. "It's probably a tie between him and Kobe," Durant said after giving it some extra thought. Yet there's no disputing who's the more natural role model for KD. It's that 35-year-old, that 7-footer, who plays three hours away down Interstate 35 ... and who just shot his way into the top 10 on the league's all-time scoring charts in his 16th season. You figure Durant will get there even faster at his current pace, given the insane levels of efficiency he's hitting -- sporting a PER of 30.2 for the season -- and blessed with that extra dose of athleticism Dirk has always dreamed of. ESPN.com

April 11, 2014 Updates
April 10, 2014 Updates

Lakers players that aren't injured have kept a decent demeanor. No locker room fights. No outright hatred. More or less a resignation that seeps in after losses but evaporates the next morning on the practice court. Bryant isn't happy, but that's nothing new in a losing season. He has experienced only two of them in his 18-year career and was part of this one for only six games. Los Angeles Times

April 9, 2014 Updates

Because when he was asked about Mike last week, the perception was that he didn't go to bat for him publicly. That started the storyline of "Well, Mike's not coming back because it doesn't seem like Kobe wants him back." Mitch Kupchak: We won't consult with him. Our decisions going forward — we're not going to do knee-jerk stuff. We'll let the season end, and take some time. We've got a lot of injuries and surgeries to sort through. That's a lot to accomplish. We have the draft coming up? USA Today Sports

So how's Kobe going to handle that? Mitch Kupchak: He'll be fine. He's got no choice. He'll be fine. When we lose, he'll rant and rave and be upset and be hot and won't talk to anybody, but that's the way it is. You've got to take the good with the bad. USA Today Sports

There are what-ifs that appear to be in play that involve D'Antoni returning, specifically the notion that the Lakers might need a coach who's known as the "point guard whisperer" if they land 18-year-old Australian point guard Dante Exum in the June draft and need D'Antoni's help in speeding up his learning curve. Exum, who signed with Kobe Bryant's agent, Rob Pelinka, and seems to have the Black Mamba's strong backing, has only increased speculation that he's targeting the Lakers as his hoped-for team by becoming a regular at home games this season. USA Today Sports

So on my short list of things to get clarity on is the dynamic between management and Kobe. You guys give him the extension, and I think the question a lot of people have now is that — because of what he has done for the organization, because of what you think he can do in the next couple of years — you do the extension but maybe Kobe doesn't still have the same voice that he had in the past and now it's time for the bosses to be the bosses. He's the one pressing the agenda, saying he's not going to wait and be patient (during a rebuild). Mitch Kupchak: Not really. Q: You don't think so? Mitch Kupchak: He had that one outburst, but I think he got caught up in all the sensation of the moment — is Phil going to stay or is he going to go? He wants the same thing we want, which is to win as much as possible as soon as possible. I meet with him. (It's) not on a regular basis, but in the last two or three months we have met several times, and he gets it. USA Today Sports

March 29, 2014 Updates
March 28, 2014 Updates

In a wide-ranging interview, the future Hall of Famer was asked about the Miami Heat’s show of solidarity for Martin, the 17-year-old African-American shot to death in Florida by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman, who was acquitted last year of second degree murder. Bryant he seemed to take exception to the idea that African-Americans should base their opinions on race. “I won’t react to something just because I’m supposed to, because I’m an African-American,” Bryant said. “That argument doesn’t make any sense to me. So we want to advance as a society and a culture, but, say, if something happens to an African-American we immediately come to his defense? Yet you want to talk about how far we’ve progressed as a society? Well, we’ve progressed as a society, then don’t jump to somebody’s defense just because they’re African-American. You sit and you listen to the facts just like you would in any other situation, right? So I won’t assert myself.” FOXnews.com

On Thursday, self-described civil rights activist Najee Ali, director of Project Islamic H.O.P.E., angrily called for a boycott of all things Bryant. “African American youth should no longer buy Bryant’s jerseys or shoes and should boycott all products he endorses,” Ali said in a statement. “Bryant doesn’t identify with the struggle that our African-American youth face nationally. So why should we continue to support Bryant who has never truly identified with the African American experience.” FOXnews.com

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