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Tag:Los angeles Lakers
Posted on: March 8, 2012 4:32 pm
Edited on: March 8, 2012 4:42 pm
 

Trade Deadline: Teams looking to make a move

Dwight Howard faces the most uncertain trade deadline of his career. (Getty Images)
By Matt Moore

The winds are filled with whispers and disinformation. Fans are rattling trade machines and scouring salary lists. And most of the players in the league have a heightened anxiety while telling everyone they're oblivious to what's going on.

It's trade season.

With the deadline a week away, talks are ramping up, and while this is the most difficult trade deadline in years to predict in the way of volume of deals, the chatter is going to be the same as ever. Teams are at the point in the season where it's time to either head in a different direction, try and get over the hump, move towards the future, add that final piece, blow the whole thing up, or try and stay the course.

Some teams are above the fray. The rest will be on the phone. And some desperately need to get a deal done in the next seven days. With that, we present the Deadline Urgent Care Report, for teams that need to make a move now. It's time to trade or get off the block.


1. Orlando Magic: There's so much going on with this situation that no one really wants to talk about. It gets boiled down to a handful of narratives. "You have to rebuild if you're going to lose Dwight Howard." "You don't trade Dwight Howard until you absolutely have to." "You can't make decisions based on emotions." "Who really wants to rebuild around Brook Lopez?"

There's so much more going on. The health of their owner. Dwight's complex relationship with the city, with ownership, with Otis Smith, with Stan Van Gundy. To be sure, there's an impression given that Howard thinks he's beyond all of them at this stage in his career. But there's part of him that knows Smith took a chance on him. He knows Stan Van Gundy helped make him into the Defensive Player of the Year that he is. He knows Orlando has embraced him. This isn't an easy scenario in back and white lines.

But the reality remains. The Magic have to trade Howard if he is unable to give them a solid indication he wants to stay. Yes, Cleveland has rebuilt well without trading LeBron James. But it's less about what you get in return than it is about clearing space. Letting Howard go in free agency means you have a terrible team that's expensive. Trading him means the possibility of moving Hedo Turkoglu, Jason Richardson, or Glen Davis to alleviate the contract situation.

The Magic need to be looking to the future, trying to pull in as many young viable could-be-stars as possible, not bringing in veterans with large contracts or injury issues. They need to scrap it and start over. It's the quickest and most logical way back to title contention. Currently the odds are a pick 'em for if they'll trade him or not. At some point, despite how complicated the situation is, you have to move forward. Otherwise you're not saving yourself, you're just waiting to die.

Targets: Distributing wing creator, point guard upgrade.
Movable assets: Dwight Howard, Jason Richardson, Hedo Turkoglu, J.J. Redick, Jameer Nelson


2. Los Angeles Lakers
: It's pretty simple stuff, really. This team, as constructed, will most likey win a title. They can, but they probably will not. And that is not how the Los Angeles Lakers operate. They have movable stars, are willing to take on salary, and are in need of a face-saving move to try and redeem the decisions of the front office.

The trick for the Lakers is determining trade value. Pau Gasol was thought of as the best big man in basketball a year and a half ago. Now, he's a sidekick delicate shooter who fell apart in the playoffs. Andrew Bynum was a project with upside who you could still rationalize moving for something less than elite return. Now he's an All-Star who finally looks healthy. Do you see the problem? Gasol is better than his current value will allow in return and Bynum's current value is so high as to make it difficult to net equal return.

Furthermore, they need a star to put next to Kobe Bryant. Dwight Howard is there, but that situation has been temperamental. And it doesn't address their issues. A trade for Howard means they still have weaknesses at point guard and small forward. If the Lakers are going to do a deal, they need to pull in other teams to get some auxiliary talent back.

Targets: Dominant superstar option B, point guard upgrade, small forward who can hit water falling out of a boat.
Movable assets: Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum (?), Metta World Peace, Steve Blake, Matt Barnes.


3. Boston Celtics:
It's. Over.

The run was good. It wasn't great, just one championship, two Finals, and for a collection of Hall of Famers, it's disappointing. But the reality remains, it's time for Boston to move on. Every indication is that Danny Ainge isn't looking to try and win a title this year through trade. He's aiming for down the line. The idea is to be in a position to make a big move should one come available, not try an force one with the older players currently on roster.

And still, a change is needed. They can definitely re-stock in free agency when Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett's deals come off the books. But considering the value of both players, it would make sense to shop either or both in an attempt to get something of value now. Again, the idea is not to find players to win a title now, since they're not in that position. But to get players that will have value later to then move for those big pieces.

And then there's Rondo.

The enigmatic, temperamental shrouded in mystery and a faint air of disgust who drops triple-doubles to boggle the mind continues to be at the center of the Celtics' uncertainty. The Celtics took to the offensive last week to shoot down rumors they were looking at moving Rondo. But he's been discussed as a potential trade target for far longer than the past two weeks. Rondo has trouble scoring efficiently. He also possesses arguably the best vision of any point guard in the league, including Chris Paul. Can you build around him? Is his success a product of playing with three Hall of Famers? Is he limited by the Celtics' pace and lack of speed? The questions about Rondo have implications beyond whether to trade him or not. They also deal with how to build a team around him going forward if they don't trade him.

Targets: Versatile wings, on-ball creators, anything resembling a legitimate center.
Movable assets: Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce (?), Chris Wilcox, Avery Bradley, Brandon Bass, Jermaine O'Neal (expiring contract).


4. Atlanta Hawks:
Josh Smith still wants out. The roster is stale. Marvin Williams is movable, finally. Jeff Teague makes Kirk Hinrich expendable. There's every reason for the Hawks to be big players at the deadline, but as always, their ownership situation makes things complicated. Still, the Hawks have repeatedly made moves at the deadline over the years and Smith should get a high amount of offers.

Targets: Clearing salary, legitimate center, back-up scoring guard.
Movable assets: Josh Smith, Kirk Hinrich, Joe Johnson.


5. Golden State Warriors:
The Warriors' new ownership has made big noise about change and bringing in stars, changing the culture. Instead they're largely the same team they have been for the past few years. They want to make a big splash. They have all the components to do so, it just matters how desperate they are. Expiring contracts, young stars on good contracts, versatility and depth. They have everything but a good roster. Fixing it will take more than a quick fix, but if they want to make a splash, the time is now.

Targets: Legitimate star, legitimate center, defensive backcourt and frontcourt upgrades.
Movable assets: Literally every player on roster.


6. Milwaukee Bucks:
Stephen Jackson has a huge contract, a bad attitude and a declining skill set. So clearly the market should be strong for him. The Bucks have wandered into no-man's land, not bad enough to land a star in the lottery, not good enough to make progress. But how do you remake a roster like this with a very specific outline for a blueprint? Brandon Jenning is the franchise player... is that a good thing? If Andrew Bogut can stay healthy they're a force... can he? They have depth that plays exceptionally well, is it worth selling high on them? It's a complex situation in Milwaukee.

Targets: Scoring, versatility, multi-dimensional impact.
Movable assets: Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Ersan Ilyasova, Drew Gooden, Brandon Jennings (?), Andrew Bogut (?), Stephen Jackson.


7. New Jersey Nets:
They can wait on Dwight. But that's the kind of gamble that puts the fear of God in you. It's like telling your spouse, "Don't worry, honey. I've lost our car, our couch, our refrigerator, our bed and our life savings the last five times I've tried this gamble, but this time it's going to be different!" Nets supporters often point out that Billy King has made a number of four and five team trades. What they do not mention is how seldom his teams have gotten the better end of those deals. Not that his teams come out worse. But it's not like we're dealing with a stellar record.

The Nets have young players, but they're not very good. It's unlikely they'll panic should Howard stay put in Orlando, but it's going to make them break out the scotch. Expect their phone lines to be busy for the next week.

Targets: Dwight Howard. Pieces necessary to get Dwight Howard.
Movable assets: Anyone but Deron Williams.


8. Houston Rockets:
The Rockets are where they always are. Trying to get a star and building up assets to get a star they can never seem to land which makes them build up more assets to try and get a star. It's like an M.C. Escher painting.

Targets: Superstar to build around, low-post scorer.
Movable assets: Anyone for the right price.
Posted on: March 8, 2012 9:32 am
Edited on: March 8, 2012 9:39 am
 

Report: Lakers considering offensive mutiny

The Lakers are facing serious problems on the road. (Getty Images)
By Matt Moore

The Lakers' loss to the lowly Wizards isn't causing panic. But it's definitely got the Nation of Lakerland in an uproar, inside and out. The Lakers' inability to win on the road where they are now 6-14 on the season is a huge black mark on their championship-caliber record. It makes two losses in two nights to lottery teams, with the Wizards truly one of the league's worst teams. It involved a 21-point blown-lead, a dagger from Nick Young, and Kobe Bryant shooting 31 times. Thirty-one-times for thirty points. 

So in this time of trouble, Mother Laker has of course came to them, speaking words of wisdom: "throw your coach under the bus and try and run the offense you want on your own." From ESPN.com: 
Bynum publicly invited the bulk of the responsibility for the Lakers' second straight loss to a lottery-bound straggler from the Eastern Conference, but sources told ESPNLosAngeles.com this week that there is growing concern among some Lakers players as to whether first-year coach Mike Brown and his staff have the X-and-O wherewithal to fix a Lakers offense that is averaging its lowest per-game point total (94) since before the advent of the 24-second shot clock in 1954-55.

Brown's effect on the Lakers' defense has been undeniable, but sources say the team's ongoing struggles on the road -- with L.A. dropping to 6-14 away from Staples Center following a loss in Detroit and blowing a 21-point lead to the undisciplined Wizards -- have some veterans longing for a return to the trusty Triangle offense preferred by Brown's predecessor, Phil Jackson.
via Sources: Los Angeles Lakers players have concerns over coach Mike Brown's X's and O's - ESPN Los Angeles.

The report goes on to say:  
Sources told ESPNLosAngeles.com that multiple players have continued to meet privately since the initial team meeting to discuss running elements of the Triangle offense again.

"The players want to unify," one source with knowledge of the situation said. "They know how to win, and they want to fix this. I don't know if they can, though. "
via Sources: Los Angeles Lakers players have concerns over coach Mike Brown's X's and O's - ESPN Los Angeles.

Yes, because clearly, when I think about who should be organizing an offense behind their coach's back, I think of Matt Barnes, Metta World Peace, Andrew Bynum, and Steve Blake.

If the report's on target, that's an abject disaster for Brown and Lakers' management. Players considering overthrowing a coach's offense in favor of what they want to do, which happens to be one of the most complex offenses to run? It should be noted that no coach outside of Phil Jackson, with either Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant in his prime, or Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant, have been successful with the system. So basically this is a terrible idea.

This kind of talks is what comprises a coach losing his team, so the report's pretty volatile. It's been less than a full season for Brown and with the players unrest showing in both their effort and talks like this, the Lakers' most drama-filled season since Kobe Bryant's trade demand in 2007 is threatening to break apart one of the most dominant teams of the last half-decade.
Posted on: March 8, 2012 9:12 am
Edited on: March 8, 2012 2:12 pm
 

Wednesday Night Game-Winner Power Rankings

By Matt Moore and Ben Golliver  


Wednesday night was one of those nights in the NBA. Multiple game winners, so many that we decided we need to break them down, power rankings style. 


1. Rose does MJ: Derrick Rose's game winner had to be the best of the night for pure elegance. It had everything we look for from a winner: at the buzzer, walk off, isolation, high degree of difficulty, total calm, nothing but net. So much was going on in this one. He read the defense patiently, unleashed some crippling dribble moves, created and took the exact shot he wanted and even had large swaths of a road crowd cheering for him. Watch that thing and try not to think Michael Jordan.



2. Kyrie Irving's end-to-end. Irving's dash to the rim for what would be the game winner wasn't 94 feet of basketball brilliance, but it was as close as you want it to be. The fact that Byron Scott had the confidence in Irving to navigate all that space and the tactical knowledge to know the Nuggets wouldn't expect Irving to just get a running start and barrel to the basket deserves some points, while Irving's approach to switch hands on approach shows off his handle. That kid is something special. 



3. Isaiah Thomas read-and-react. Thomas, at his best, is the type of undersized guard that just makes you marvel. That he was the 2011 NBA Draft's "Mr. Irrelevant" just makes the story that much better. Thomas was at his best on Wednesday night, intercepting an idiotic entry pass at full stretch and with perfect timing. Thomas' game is all action/reaction/action and he made an incredibly heady play to move the ball forward to a streaking John Salmons, hitting him in stride. No second-guessing, no covering the ball to allow the defense to react. Just pure open court instinct in a very unusual game situation. The only downside is that it wasn't a walk off winner, or the Power Balance Pavilion might have stormed the court. Thomas' growing reputation for putting smiles on faces continues to grow.

 

4. DWill trusts Farmar. What? Why aren't people flipping out over Deron Williams passing up the crucial shot in the Nets' win over the Clippers like they did with LeBron James? Regardless, Williams made a great play and Farmar didn't get too excited or go hero-mode. He just lined up and knocked down the open jumper. You know, the right basketball play. On the opposite end of the spectrum,CP3 was never going to take that pass, and gambling on it meant he couldn't run Farmar off. Big mistake as Farmar's been en fuego from the outside this year.  



5. Nick Young has daggers on daggers.  If this was later in the game, it would be a top-three candidate. After all, Young did rise and fear to knock off the master of rise and fire. But alas, we had more free throws and missed Kobe Bryant threes to get through before it was said and done. But make no mistake, Nick Young's dagger to punch the Lakers' comeback attempt was the game winner in the Wizards' stunner over L.A.. 

Posted on: March 8, 2012 2:09 am
Edited on: March 8, 2012 2:13 am
 

Report: Rasheed Wallace works out for Miami Heat

Rasheed Wallace and the Miami Heat. Really? (Getty Images)
Posted by Ben Golliver 

It's about that time of the year for title contenders to stock up on veteran talent for the playoff push. But, really?

Fox Sports Florida reports that the defending Eastern Conference champion Miami Heat recently worked out retired forward Rasheed Wallace.
A source close to the situation confirmed Rasheed Wallace has worked out with Heat, but source said he hasn't decided if he'll play again. Source on whether Rasheed Wallace would be interested if Heat wanted to sign him: "It’s something he may consider.’'
    
Source said Rasheed Wallace staying quiet on if he might play again because "doesn't want to cause a lot of hoopla'' if decides against it.
Wallace, 37, last appeared in an NBA game in June 2010, more than 20 months ago, as a member of the Boston Celtics. During the All-Star break, he was linked to the Los Angeles Lakers in a report, but so far nothing has officially materialized. Reports of a potential comeback previously arose in January 2011 and back in January of this year. During the lockout, Wallace played in the North Carolina Pro-Am. Austin Rivers, the son of Celtics coach Doc Rivers and a freshman guard at Duke University, dunked over Wallace during one of the Pro-Am games. 

The Heat always seem interested in big bodies, and were reportedly linked to free agent center Joel Przybilla before he signed with the Portland Trail Blazers in February. It's not clear what Wallace would bring to Miami -- besides hilarious jokes and sideline antics -- that Miami's big man rotation of Chris Bosh, Udonis Haslem, Joel Anthony, Eddy Curry, Dexter Pittman and Juwan Howard don't already provide. The Heat already has old age and hard fouling pretty well covered.

Wallace posted career averages of 14.6 points, 6.7 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game during a career that included stops with the Washington Bullets, Portland Trail Blazers, Atlanta Hawks, Detroit Pistons and Boston Celtics. Wallace was fairly durable into his 30s, playing at least 75 games in five of his final six seasons. According to Basketball-Reference.com, he made more $156 million in salary during his 15 NBA seasons.

Hat tip: Pro Basketball Talk
Posted on: March 8, 2012 12:11 am
 

Nick Young daggers the Lakers



And that's how the Wizards downed the Lakers, sending them to their second loss in two nights to bottom-feeder lottery teams, after their big win Sunday against Miami. The Wizards were down 21 points in the third quarter, before rallying to close it within one possession by the start of the fourth. 

Kobe Bryant was 9-31 for 30 points in the loss. Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol had 19 shots combined. The loss comes a day after Rodney Stuckey crossed over Bryant for a late-game bucket and now Young drains this one. The Lakers looked like one of the elite teams in the league on Sunday. Four days later, they're taking on water again. The trade deadline is one week away. 

For the Wizards, it's their best win of the season, and something for Randy Wittman to hang his hat on. Trevor Booker was the player you need your bigs to be, John Wall managed the offense even on a bad night, and his team got the win. In a long, dark season, it's nice to have nights like this. 
 
Posted on: March 7, 2012 4:10 pm
Edited on: March 7, 2012 4:43 pm
 

Vegas oddsmaker: expect busy NBA trade deadline

Dwight Howard could determine whether or not this is a busy NBA trade deadline. (Getty Images)
Posted by Ben Golliver   

Will we see two hectic NBA trade deadline days in a row? Las Vegas seems to think so.

The 2011 trade season was crazy, but the biggest deals -- Carmelo Anthony to the New York Knicks and Deron Williams to the New Jersey Nets -- were both completed in advance of the Feb. 24 deadline. Even so, Gerald Wallace, Kendrick Perkins, Baron Davis, Shane Battier, Aaron Brooks and Jeff Green were just some of the names that moved on the final day of the trade season.

This year, Vegas oddsmaker Bovada anticipates a similar level of activity. On Wednesday, the site set the over/under on trades that will happen on the March 15th deadline at 6.5. Of course, this number is for entertainment purposes only.

It goes without saying that the biggest potential trade chips are Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard and Los Angeles Lakers forward Pau Gasol. Both are listed at even odds if you want to bet "yes" on them moving. 

So will we see seven trades? Given the slow run-up of rumors it looks a little bleak right now. Let's take a look from both sides.

If this does wind up being a quiet trade season, you can bet on the following factors emerging as explanations after the fact.

Howard's uncertainty

Teams with top-tier assets are on hold as they wait for the Howard situation to clear up. If it gets closer to the deadline and he winds up staying in Orlando, rival GMs will have the choice of scrambling to execute a back-up plan or simply holding their cards until the offseason. It's essentially the same thing if he winds up moving late. For teams not in the transaction, they won't have days to weigh their options as they did following the Anthony and Williams trades last year.

Lockout schedule

The delayed start to the 2011-2012 season also pushed back the trade deadline. With six weeks until the playoffs, the temptation to fold the tent and wait until Draft season could be strong for teams that either aren't true contenders or have already dropped out of the playoff chase. It's much easier to write-off a 66-game season than it is an 82-game season. A number of teams have tanked hard since the beginning of the season using the same logic.

Established dominance in the East

In the East, Chicago and Miami have separated themselves so far from the pack that GMs may have trouble selling their owners on a win-now move that requires taking on salary. Why stock up only to get cut down by two truly elite teams? That train of thought is compounded by what is expected to be a strong free agency class. Taking on salary now means less flexibility later.

If, on the other hand, we do see a flurry of deals, here are a few factors that might trigger them. 

Wide open West

If there's activity for basketball reasons, there's a good chance it happens out West given the possibility that 4.5 games separate seeds 3 through 11. If someone wants to pay to make a push, they will be able to do so.  The Clippers, Lakers, Mavericks, Rockets and Timberwolves would all seem to have interest in making their team better for a little postseason fun.

Luxury tax  

Under the new collective bargaining agreement, high payroll teams are set to be hit with major fines for going over -- and eventually, for staying over -- the luxury tax line. Already, we saw one high-profile salary dump for tax purposes, when the Lakers moved Lamar Odom to the Mavericks.  It doesn't have to be big names or big salary numbers that move, though. Simply shipping an extraneous smaller-salary (over multiple years) guy to a team with cap space for oblique future Draft considerations could wind up saving a taxpayer real money when everything is added up down the line.

Danny Ainge 

The Boston Celtics are always active and this year they have assets galore plus plenty of motivation to move them given the uncertain direction going forward. Last year, Ainge made trades both big (Kendrick Perkins) and small (Luke Harangody). It's difficult to imagine he could sit on his hands with Boston limping along as the No. 7 seed.
Posted on: March 7, 2012 1:22 am
Edited on: March 7, 2012 1:32 am
 

Report Card 3.6.12: Underdogs rule Tuesday

Posted by Ben Golliver  

The Bobcats enjoyed a rare win on Tuesday, over the Magic no less. (Getty Images)

Each night, Eye on Basketball brings you what you need to know about the games of the NBA. From great performances to terrible clock management the report card evaluates and eviscerates the good, the bad, and the ugly from the night that was.

Charlotte Bobcats When you only win about once every two weeks and your first win since Feb. 17 comes against the No. 3 seed Orlando Magic, in convincing fashion, it's time to celebrate. That was the case for the Bobcats, who relentlessly pounded Orlando's defense and held the Magic offense to one-and-done looks possession after possession down the stretch, to dance their way to a 100-84 victory. Rookie Bismack Biyombo had his best game as a professional, going toe-to-toe with Dwight Howard to score 10 points, grab 15 rebounds and block an astounding 7 shots. He could barely contain his glee by the end, gesturing to the crowd in animated fashion as Charlotte walked off with the win.
Rodney Stuckey The Detroit Pistons guard outshot and outscored Kobe Bryant in a dramatic overtime win at the Palace. Stuckey scored Detroit's final seven points in regulation and tacked on another six in overtime, pushing the Pistons to an 88-85 upset win. He also put Bryant on skates with a vicious stepback crossover. He didn't do much else besides score, but that was more than enough.
Miami Heat Unlike the Magic and the Lakers, the Heat easily took care of business against lesser competition, stomping the New Jersey Nets, 108-78. Miami also enjoyed a nice soft launch in re-integrating Chris Bosh after he missed some time due to a death in the family. So why a "B"? Well, simple: irreplaceable guard Dwyane Wade suffered an apparently minor foot injury that kept him on the bench late. The good news: the Sun-Sentinel reports indicate he'll be fine and expects to start on Wednesday against the Hawks.
New York Knicks Dallas is now 15-7 at home, so expectations had to be somewhat tempered for the Knicks on the road. But a troubling 2-for-12 from Carmelo Anthony plus a decidedly not-superhuman performance from Jeremy Lin -- 14 points on 13 shots, 1-for-5 from deep, 7 assists and 2 turnovers, mixed in with long stretches of passive play -- make this a tough one. It was also New York's third loss in four games, with San Antonio on Wednesday. The next few weeks are critical if New York hopes to be better than the No. 8 seed.
Kobe Bryant He was due for an off night after three big scoring games in a row following the All-Star break, but Bryant's 8-for-26 shooting was a major reason the Lakers let what should have been an easy win slip away. While he nailed a pretty buzzer-beater to push the game to overtime, his performance and decision-making in the extra period was erratic. A forced deep three that didn't even come close on the final possession was Bryant at his worst.
Orlando Magic This was a hot mess of a loss to the Bobcats. Orlando scored just 13 points in the fourth and couldn't mange a single point in the final 2:47, conceding an 8-0 run to close the game. On the other end, Charlotte, the NBA's worst offense, seemingly scored at will, with Corey Maggette getting to the foul line 11 times and Gerald Henderson tossing in 16 points, including some big late buckets. Do the Magic even care? This was a lacking performance in virtually every area.


E FOR EFFORT
Dirk Nowitzki (28 points on 18 shots, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, in 34 minutes)
Kevin Garnett (13 points, 13 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, 2 blocks in 38 minutes)
Bismack Biyombo (10 points, 15 rebounds, 7 blocks, 6-for-10 free throw shooting to overcome Hack-a-Biyombo down the stretch)
Posted on: March 6, 2012 7:34 pm
Edited on: March 6, 2012 7:53 pm
 

Kobe Bryant wears new black face mask

Posted by Ben Golliver  

Kobe Bryant will don this black mask. (Lakers.com)

Cue the Batman jokes, I guess.

Los Angeles Lakers All-Star guard Kobe Bryant will switch up his mask game on Tuesday night, replacing his old clear model with the smaller, all-black style shown above, via Lakers.com. Bryant will debut the new mask when the Lakers travel to The Palace of Auburn Hills to face the Detroit Pistons.

Bryant has been rocking the head gear because Miami Heat All-Star guard Dwyane Wade hard-fouled him during the 2012 All-Star Game in Orlando. Bryant kept playing in the game and didn't miss any time, even though he suffered a "nasal fracture" and, according to one report, a "mild concussion."

Lakers.com offers the following details.
Bryant actually had three new masks made in Detroit — by the maker of Richard Hamilton’s masks — that he tried on at the team’s shootaround on Tuesday morning, and the black one was simply the most comfortable of the five (including the two he already had), according to athletic trainer Gary Vitti.
Update: Here's a few looks at Bryant's new mask from different angles during Tuesday's game.

Kobe Bryant wearing his new black mask against the Pistonsdon this black mask. (FSPistons broadcast)

In L.A.'s three games since the All-Star break, all Lakers wins, Bryant wore the clear mask, which reportedly kept heating up, causing him discomfort. He's topped 31 points in all three games -- wins over the Minnesota Timberwolves, Sacramento Kings and Miami Heat -- so it can't be bothering him that much.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com