HoopsHype Kobe Bryant rumors

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

March 25, 2014 Updates

It’s no secret that Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant were not on the best of terms for much of their time together with the Los Angeles Lakers. Both of them have said that numerous times over the years, and Phil Jackson recently blamed Shaq’s work ethic for the demise of their early-2000s dynasty. Bryant echoes this sentiment in a new interview with the New Yorker: “It used to drive me crazy that he was so lazy,” Bryant told me. “You got to have the responsibility of working every single day. You can’t skate through (expletive).” For The Win

He told me that the pain was so immediately intense that it was as if someone were holding a blowtorch to the back of his head, but his first instinct was to try yanking the recoiling tendon back down with his fingers. He then insisted on taking his foul shots—both of which he made, in spite of precarious balance, tying the game—before limping to the locker room, acquiescing to surgery, and vowing to rehab more quickly than anyone believed possible. The same Achilles injury ended the career of Isiah Thomas. Only Dominique Wilkins recovered from it well enough to remain an All-Star. Wilkins was two years younger than Bryant at the time of his hobbling, and had pestled the joints in his knees, elbows, and ankles for about half as many minutes. The New Yorker

March 24, 2014 Updates

Add Kobe Bryant to the ever-lengthening list of people who don’t see good things in Justin Bieber’s future. The pop star’s recent legal troubles have been on Bryant’s radar, and they’re helping him win a bet he has with one of his associates. From a new feature on Bryant in the New Yorker: Kobe Bryant and a business associate have a running bet on the staying power of the pop stars Katy Perry and Justin Bieber. Bryant, who wears self-discipline like a badge, has long favored the more predictable Perry’s odds, and found in Bieber’s recent tabloid episodes hints of a looming implosion: talent spurned. As he and the associate walked into the dining room at the Four Seasons, in downtown Miami, in late January, the associate, a Belieber, mentioned that Bryant had been giving him a hard time about it for years. He seemed almost ready to concede. That morning, elsewhere in Miami, Bieber had been caught drag racing and booked for driving under the influence. For The Win

After openly questioning Los Angeles Lakers management and declaring he has no patience for a rebuilding effort in L.A., Kobe Bryant has since opened up communication with the Lakers front office, the 18-year veteran said in a conversation with ESPN's Darren Rovell on Sunday. ESPN.com

On the same day Bryant was recently officially ruled out for the remainder of the season because of a fractured knee in his left leg, the 35-year-old told reporters he expects the Lakers to return to championship form immediately, starting with the moves they make with their salary-cap space this summer. That diatribe prompted a meeting of the minds between Bryant and the Lakers' brass. "Jimmy [executive vice president of player personnel Jim Buss] and I actually talked after that and it's important for us to have that conversation because this is their team, it's been in their family for years and we all know what the track record is for that, but I've also been part of this franchise since I was 17 years old," Bryant told Rovell. "I feel like I bleed purple and gold and I want to see this franchise be successful. I don't want to hear the comments of dissension between Jim and [Lakers president] Jeanie [Buss]. We need to figure this thing out. We're all moving in the same direction." ESPN.com

Faced with the reality of the final years of his career, Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant announced on Sunday his plans to start his next career: Businessman. Bryant, in an exclusive interview with ESPN, revealed that he has formed his own company called Kobe Inc., and is building a team around him to start new businesses and evaluate investing in others. "I have always had ideas and always had a vision of where I wanted to go going back to 2000, but they are just ideas," Bryant said. "Now, once the Achilles injury took place, I'm sitting at home for months not moving, a couple things set in. One is that there is only so many Modern Family episodes a person can watch. And then two, what do I do now?" ESPN.com

Any rumor missing? E-mail us at   hoopshype@hoopshype.com.