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October 25, 2014 Updates

The Los Angeles Lakers have waived guard Jabari Brown and forward Roscoe Smith, it was announced today by General Manager Mitch Kupchak. Brown, a rookie from Missouri, appeared in four preseason games for Los Angeles, tallying five points, two rebounds and an assist in 22 minutes. NBA.com

On Friday, following the game between the Lakers and Sacramento Kings, GM Mitch Kupchak appeared on an episode of “Connected With…” on TWCSportsNet. Kupchak talked about all things Lakers along with touching on what he believes Kobe will accomplish this season: “I think he can make the All-Star team…I think he’ll have the ability to score when he wants to score. I think he’ll be a great leader. His voice will be heard….He won’t be like he was fifteen years ago… that wirey, springy, try to dunk the ball every time…but you won’t notice it.” Lakers Nation

Chances are he'll never play another NBA minute. There's a chance he won't even exit the grand stage as a Laker because, as club sources indicate, management plans to at least explore its options to turn Nash's $9.7 million expiring contract into something useful between now and the February trade deadline. ESPN.com

Kupchak said the Lakers have reached out to the league about applying for a disabled player exception. If it is granted, it would be worth roughly $4.85 million. "This just came about, and he remains on our roster," Kupchak said. "We made a couple of preliminary phone calls, looking into the mechanics of the disabled player exception, so we'll look into that further next week and probably get that process going." ESPN.com

Though Bryant viewed Dwight Howard's free-agent departure in 2013 as "a positive," according to a person close to him, the Lakers barely got this past summer's prime free agents, James and Anthony, to give the franchise a passing thought. Why is that? CBSSports.com

Bryant, for example, wanted to incorporate Olympic lifts into his comeback routine, movements that he hadn't done consistently for about 10 years. DiFrancesco objected, saying that for a long-levered, aging athlete like Bryant, the technical, explosive movements like the clean-and-jerk and snatch didn't fit his criteria for a simple, low-risk, high-reward program. Bryant wouldn't budge. He told DiFrancesco to write a report explaining his reasoning and deliver it to him the next day. DiFrancesco did; Olympic lifts were out. Bryant won't reveal, and won't let anyone else reveal, his body composition results or what combination of exercises he did. The way he did them was much more telling, anyway. CBSSports.com

Through all the platitudes, a complicated figure finds himself hemmed in by his own reality. There, in a quiet corner of the practice court, I asked him, "How do you know that your body won't let you down again?" "I don't," he said. "How do you deal with that?" "I accept it," he said. "It could happen at any moment, right?" CBSSports.com

As a teammate, I'd put him in an exclusive club of two when it comes to on-court leadership over these past two decades. Nash and Tim Duncan are the two finest star players I've ever seen when it comes to the rare art of positive reinforcement, making everyone around them feel good about themselves and galvanizing a group. On his own several years back, well aware of the critics who argued so loudly that Shaquille O'Neal should have won the MVP award that went to the little Canadian in 2005, Nash volunteered that the honor, in his case, was really a Best Teammate trophy -- in a nod to the dramatic impact he had on the 2004-05 Suns -- more than a Best Player trophy. ESPN.com

Just outside the trainer's office, I stood in the doorway for a good half-hour, horrified but unable to look away as Suns lifer Aaron Nelson pushed and pulled and twisted and stretched Nash's limbs in a manner that your squeamish correspondent will never forget. Just picturing the pressure Nelson was applying so close to Nash's crotch, trying to loosen up all the connected circuitry that made him go back then at 38, still makes me wince as I type about it more than two years later. Nash, of course, would eventually rise up off Nelson's training table and laugh at me for being such a baby. The daily toll it took just to get on the floor in his later years, just to be able to handle the rigors of your average Friday in the NBA, never bothered "Two Time." ESPN.com

Sadly, though, Nash has essentially never recovered from that collision with Portland's Damian Lillard in his second game as a Laker, which left him vulnerable to the heartless whims of nerve root irritation and its habit of zapping him in the back without warning. Yet close associates of the now 40-year-old insist that he's in pretty good spirits given the gravity and suddenness of Thursday's announcement from the Lakers that Nash's 2014-15 season is over before it started. It has unofficially forced Nash to retire, whether he's really ready to or not. ESPN.com

If Nash does want to continue playing, it’s possible, Rice said that after a year off the nerve damage would heal enough to allow him to do so. He pointed to Alex Rodriguez as someone who was out for a year and might come back with a healed hip and a better game than before he was suspended. “Here’s a guy who’s very competitive and he doesn’t want to go out this way … I wouldn’t put it past him,” he said of Nash. “But again if you try to measure him against what he was when he was young he’s not going to be as fast but he is going to be as smart and is that enough?” For The Win

October 24, 2014 Updates
 

THE TOP 50 PLAYERS IN LAKERS HISTORY

Kobe Bryant and Magic Johnson headline a fantastic list that includes up to 33 NBA champions.

   

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