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November 22, 2014 Updates

But in the end, they're bound for the lottery, under construction until further notice, and Bryant and his huge deal are targeted as a key reason for their plight. "Did I take a discount? Yeah," Bryant said after a morning shootaround here, when he discussed his contract more than at any point since signing it. "Did I take as big a discount as some of you fans would want me to? No. "Is it a big enough discount to help us be a contender? Yeah. "So what we try to do is be in a situation where they take care of the player and the player takes care of the organization enough to put us in a championship predicament eventually." ESPN.com

Could a player make $24 million in the NBA's current punitive financial climate (as Bryant does this season) and legitimately say they’re interested in winning? "Yeah, of course, as long as you can convince everybody else that you need to come play for the minimum," Cuban said with a laugh. Cuban has long been poking fun at the Lakers on this topic, once calling them Shaq, Kobe and the "band of merry minimum [-salaried players]" in 2000 during Cuban's first season as an owner. Nowitzki echoed Cuban's point that his deal was about winning, not money. "I wanted to be on a good team," Nowitzki said. "I wanted to compete my last couple of years at the highest level. ESPN.com

November 21, 2014 Updates

Mark Medina: Wayne Ellington just spoke to a few of us in the locker room. Says he plans to dedicate rest of the season to his father Twitter @MarkG_Medina

Kobe Bryant considers the public pressure for longtime NBA stars to take hometown-discount deals such as Dirk Nowitzki's contract "a big coup" for NBA owners. "It's the popular thing to do," Bryant said after the Los Angeles Lakers' shootaround in preparation for Friday's game against Nowitzki's Dallas Mavericks. "The player takes less, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. I think it's a big coup for the owners to put players in situations where public perception puts pressure on them to take less money. Because if you don't, then you get criticized for it. "It's absolutely brilliant, but I'm not going for it. I know the new head of the players association ain't going for it, either." ESPN.com

"This is where players get themselves in a lot of trouble, which me in my 19th year I really don't care, so I'll kind of say what I need to say," said Bryant, who indicated that he would retire at the end of this contract. "But I think you've got to look at the business of basketball. I think for a lot of writers, for a lot of fans, they have a very tough time distinguishing the two."This is a business, and you have to look at individuals and what they generate and the market that they're generating revenue in. And you can't separate those. People have a hard time separating that stuff. From a business perspective, you have to take that stuff into account and you have to try to, as a player, be in situations where it can be a win-win for everybody. ESPN.com

Marc Stein: Lakers backcourt target John Lucas officially on way to China, I'm told, to join Al Harrington w/Fujian. They'll be back in FEB for NBA jobs Twitter @ESPNSteinLine

 

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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