HoopsHype Kobe Bryant rumors

October 23, 2014 Updates

Abbott’s piece de resistance is a rarely-attempted defense of Jim Buss, suggesting that he gave Bryant that $48.5 million last winter—before Kobe played, after which he came back and lasted six games—to avoid a public squabble over a new contract. Actually, Jeanie Buss made that call, not her brother. After losing Howard, they were terrified of losing Kobe, although at his pay scale, he had nowhere to go. The real key for the Buss kids was it was what their father did, as in 1991 when he gave Magic Johnson a one-year $14.6 million extension, bigger than half the NBA payrolls at the time. Forbes.com

D’Antoni’s problem was being in the wrong place at the wrong time but by then, bringing him back would have been another terrible blunder. If D’Antoni hadn’t made picking up his 2015-16 option a precondition for returning, he would be coaching today. As high-maintenance superstars go, Kobe is sadder but wise. Among peers, he’s now almost one of the guys. James, leery of him before they began playing together on Olympic teams, is now a friend. Forbes.com

Mike Bresnahan: Kobe Bryant will not play the Lakers' last two exhibition games. He's going to rest. Opener is next Tuesday vs. Houston. Twitter @Mike_Bresnahan

October 22, 2014 Updates

The ESPN article, quoting anonymous sources, framed Bryant as someone who alienated potential free agents and teammates. After scoring 27 points during the Lakers’ 114-108 overtime loss to the Phoenix Suns at Honda Center in Anaheim, Bryant addressed the story that ran on Monday. “It’s not the first one, it’s not going to be the last one,” Bryant said. “The one thing I’ve come to understand over the years is that you’ll have a bad story that comes out on a Monday and it seems like it’s the end of the world. It seems like everybody is taking shots at you. Los Angeles Times

“But time goes by, and then you look back and it’s just a Monday. Right? Then have another great story that comes out maybe a month later or something like that and it’s a fantastic story. And then there’s a bad story that comes out a month after that. “It’s a cycle. And things are never as good or as bad as they seem at the moment in time. So you stay focused on the big picture. Things are never really as bleak as they seem at the time. I just kind of roll with it.” Los Angeles Times

Oscar Schmidt was the band you loved fiercely and could never convince anyone else was the greatest thing on earth. Oscar Schmidt was indie rock. Kobe’s call? “No question,” he says, “he would have been one of the greatest.” In ’95, after a short, unsatisfying stint in Spain, Schmidt finally came home. He spent his last few years at Flamengo, an all-sports club and a dynasty — the Yankees of Brazil. There, in his forties, he made the best money of his career. How did he manage at such an advanced age? “I don’t waste my energy,” he says. “I start to have more precision.” He smiles. “And I start to defend only in the second half.” Grantland

In his first time speaking to media after an ESPN The Magazine article suggested that he played a significant role in the Lakers' recent slide over the last few years, Bryant, known for speaking candidly, responded with a seemingly diplomatic answer. "It's not the first one and it won't be the last one," Bryant said following the Lakers' 114-108 preseason overtime loss to the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday. "One thing I've come to understand over the years is that you'll have a bad story that comes out on a Monday and it seems like it's the end of the world and it seems like everybody's taking shots at you. But time goes by and then you look back on it and it was just a Monday. ESPN.com

Bryant continued, explaining his rationale behind remaining upbeat despite the current state of the Lakers franchise. "Stay focused on the bigger picture and things are never as bleak as they seem at the time," Bryant said. "I just kind of roll with it." ESPN.com

October 21, 2014 Updates
October 20, 2014 Updates

"I've had a lot of clients in the last five years, good players, who didn't want to play with Kobe," says an agent who has had numerous NBA stars. "They see that his teammates become the chronic public whipping boys. Anyone who could possibly challenge Kobe for the spotlight ends up becoming a pincushion for the media. Even Shaq." ESPN.com

"Mitch did his homework," says another NBA exec. "He can't get a marquee player to play alongside Kobe, cap space be damned." As several agents around the league said, it's tough, after so many failed attempts, to convince any player that they'll love playing with Bryant. "He wants to win," says a source close to Lakers decision makers. "But only as long as he's the reason we're winning, as long as the performance is not affecting his numbers. No one works harder than Kobe. And no one sabotages his own efforts more. He's scaring off the free agents we're trying to get. We're trying to surround you with talent and your ego is getting in the way." ESPN.com

The story of the Lakers' losing Howard has been told as one of the big man chafing under Mike D'Antoni's offense. One Lakers source, though, says Howard's issue wasn't really with the offensive scheme but that "he saw one particular player play outside that scheme with carte blanche, with no accountability. These people who say Dwight couldn't handle the pressure of Los Angeles ... that's nonsense. LA was everything Dwight wanted. To be celebrated. To be among stars. To be among women of this caliber. To live, basically, in one big reality TV show. This was a perfect setting for him." Bryant, who declined through a Lakers spokesman to comment for this story, playfully grumbles about today's youth and their newfangled ways, but there really is an element to his play that is from the past. ESPN.com

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