HoopsHype Kobe Bryant rumors

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January 27, 2015 Updates

Between the ages of 30 and 34 the Lakers played Bryant 37 minutes a game. On a mission to prove he didn't need Shaq, Bryant played through a host of injuries. He won some titles, too. At age 34 in the 2012-13 season, Bryant played 76 of the Lakers' first 78 games and was averaging nearly 39 minutes a game. He averaged 45 minutes per game over the last seven games he played before he snapped his Achilles tendon after playing 45 minutes in that fateful game. Bryant's career was derailed by that injury but not at that moment, because he's was barreling toward it for years. There's no need to ask then coach Mike D'Antoni or the Lakers organization if they have any regrets. Byron Scott certainly has regrets about playing Bryant 35 minutes a game this season with a lingering sore shoulder. Had the Lakers been more judicious over the past five to six years with Bryant, would he be in this position today, having a third straight season ended by injury? No one knows. ESPN.com

Can he withstand another grueling stretch of rehab after fighting his way back from Achilles and knee injuries that kept him out all but six games last season? "It's just a matter of if he wants to go through it all again," Denver Nuggets Coach Brian Shaw said Monday night before his team played the Clippers at Staples Center. "I don't think that you can put anything past him." Los Angeles Times

January 26, 2015 Updates

Coach Byron Scott said Monday that Bryant was in high spirits when they spoke Monday morning, adding that he “probably sounded worse than (Bryant) did. We all know how tough he is and he’s a trooper.” Scott said he also expects the Lakers guard to return to the court next season. “I think he’s already proven that with the Achilles’ last year,” Scott said. “Everybody said he was done and the first month of the season, he proved to everybody that he still has a lot left in the tank and I think he still has that hunger and competitive nature and will prove it again. At times, we don’t appreciate all the stuff he has been able to accomplish or appreciate how tough he is and all the things he’s come back with.” Orange County Register

If there is some good to come out of the rotator cuff injury that sidelined Kobe Bryant for the remainder of the season, it is that the Lakers could lose a whole lot of games the rest of the way and finally be in position to draft a Kobe guy—this time, Arizona’s Stanley Johnson. Several times in recent years, Bryant has formed a connection with a top prospect in the upcoming draft, with an introduction and the possibility of workouts and friendship. Those players wind up signing with Bryant’s agent, Rob Pelinka. Such was the case with Dante Exum last year, Derrick Williams in 2011 and James Harden in 2009. But the Lakers could, finally, wind up with a Kobe draftee. According to league sources, Pelinka is in position to sign the fast-rising Johnson, should Johnson do the inevitable and leave school early. As Arizona has pushed its way up the rankings—they’re 18-2 and currently No. 6—Johnson’s stock has soared. Sporting News

More than a decade ago, Bryant wanted to get away from Los Angeles, and the team he wanted to join was the Wizards, where he would join forces with his mentor Michael Jordan. Those plans evaporated when then-Wizards owner Abe Pollin parted ways with Jordan in 2003, a year before Bryant became a free agent, but as Wizards fans pine over the idea of Kevin Durant coming to Washington as a free agent, the near-miss that was Kobe-to-DC finally can be shared. “That’s true,” Bryant confirmed recently. “A long time ago? Yeah.” Washington Post

“The challenge had been thrown down upon me, of not being able to win without Shaq. A public challenge never really bothered me too much, but he made a couple of comments as well. I think he called me Penny Hardaway Part 2 or something like that. So that’s what [ticked] me off,” Bryant said. “Then it was like, ‘Listen, you know the step back that I took to help us win championships. Let’s not get [expletive] confused. I can dominate on my own. I decided to stay here and win championships and sacrifice MVPs and scoring titles and all that stuff.’ So once that was said, it was like a line in the sand now.” Washington Post

Had he joined Jordan in Washington, Bryant is certain only one result would’ve unfolded. “We would’ve put together a great team and we would’ve won championships,” Bryant said. “Listen, man. There are not a lot of players in this league that say, ‘Come hell or high water, we’re going to get this [expletive] done.’ People can look around and joke around about winning, saying they want to win. For me, it’s a matter of life or death. It was that important to me. And if it’s that important to me, I’m going to get there.” Washington Post

But McHale didn't seem so sure the 36-year-old Bryant would be able to rebound from another potential season-ending injury, this time a torn rotator cuff in Bryant's right shoulder suffered last week in a loss at New Orleans. "Eventually, this catches up to you, man," McHale said Sunday before the Rockets beat the Lakers 99-87 at Staples Center. "Kobe's a great player, but I've seen other great players. When your time's up, your time's up, man. It's too bad, but it happens to everybody. "I wish him all the best. I've always admired him. I think he's a hell of a competitor, but everything comes to an end. In my case, my body just said, 'You weren't playing anymore,' and I said, 'OK.' " ESPN.com

The wait for the official story on the upcoming Kobe 10 will finally end this Saturday when Nike unveils this next signature shoe for Kobe Bryant. With the date rapidly approaching, Mr. Bryant has actually been seen in the shoes on the cover of the Chinese hoops mag XXL, pictured below. It's not likely that the magazine got an exclusive with Bryant for the issue, so don't be surprised if this same image pops up in the official Nike press release when the shoe is unveiled over the weekend. The colorway on-feet here is the Kobe 10 'Blue Lagoon,' which looks to be the first of pairs to arrive with its 2//7 release date. Sole Collector

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