Tag:Kobe Bryant
Posted on: February 9, 2012 1:06 pm

Kobe Bryant 'sure' Lakers will make roster moves

Kobe Bryant says roster moves are coming for the Lakers(Getty Images)
Posted by Ben Golliver 

The NBA's trade deadline sits roughly one month away, and for Los Angeles Lakers All-Star guard Kobe Bryant, that means roster improvements are just around the corner.

ESPNLA.com reports that Bryant took to the radio airwaves to express his expectation that the Lakers will make moves in advance of the trade deadline to help push the Lakers towards Bryant's sixth title.

"I'm sure they'll do something," Bryant said. "They'll tweak something. I don't know what. But I'm sure they'll do something."

Bryant balked at the chance to address specifically what roster moves would be necessary to fortify the Lakers' championship aspirations, but he supported the approach made by Lakers' management to improve the team.

"The motivation is for us to build a contender," Bryant said. "It's not to just kind of sit around and see what falls in our lap. That's not the impression that I get from management at all, so I think that allows me to be patient. You can't just rush into things and then you make bad decisions, you make bad choices, you're locked into bad contracts. So, it's important to be patient, make right choices and we'll be fine."

These statements amount to light pressure on management from Bryant. He's not demanding the world -- Deron Williams or Dwight Howard -- and he sounds like he has fully processed how hard the Lakers got jobbed in the Chris Paul fiasco. But he's also not willing to settle with the roster status quo, or he wouldn't publicly verbalize how "sure" he is that moves are coming.  

After a shaky start, the Lakers are stuck in the middle of the crowded Western Conference table, sitting in seventh place with a record of 14-11 on Thursday. They're just 1.5 games out of the fourth seed and just 1.5 games ahead of the eleventh seed, so roster improvement, even a "tweak" like Bryant describes, has major implications.

The Lakers stand out from that Western Conference pack as obvious buyers because of Bryant's all-or-nothing need to win a title, because of the large-market expectations that go with being the Lakers and because of the Lamar Odom trade exception, which allows L.A. to take on salary in a short-term roster boost type move.

Given Bryant's steadiness and center Andrew Bynum's health and career-year production, all eyes continue to be on the point guard position, and the Lakers were recently linked to Ramon Sessions in one report. That move, or one similar, would qualify as a "tweak," and it would make a meaningful difference to L.A.'s playoff positioning.
Posted on: February 9, 2012 12:53 pm

Kobe says his wrist is fully healed

Kobe says his wrist is officially healed. (Getty Images)
Posted by Royce Young

There are people that play through injuries, and then there's Kobe Bryant. Some just try and get by while something heals, but not Kobe. Despite having a torn up wrist, he didn't just get by, he averaged 29.3 points a game, tops in the NBA, shooting the ball all over and putting together a couple 40-point nights.

But that's in the past now, Kobe says. Via the O.C. Register:
Kobe Bryant told me after Lakers practice on Wednesday the torn ligament in his right wrist is completely behind him.

“I got through it,” Bryant said.

When I asked him if he would use the term “healed,” Bryant said: “Yes.”

Bryant said he stopped using the pregame injection that would numb the wrist to pain two games ago.

A lot of people wondered if Kobe should just shut things down to let it heal, but it looks like he knew what he was doing. That's assuming it's actually healed and Kobe's not just saying that so everyone will quit asking about it.

Kobe had been taping his wrist, but even has ditched that too.

“I experimented with no injection in Utah, and the next game felt completely fine,” Bryant said. “So, no tape, no injection. I’m good.”

Kobe injured the wrist in the Lakers' first preseason game against the Clippers, when he fell hard landing on it. He didn't miss a game but instead just taped it up and played through it. He said he had to deal with constant pain, but obviously it was worth it to him to be on the floor for a Laker team that clearly needed him.

The wrist didn't stop Kobe from recently passing Shaquille O'Neal on the all-time scoring list either, as No. 24 moved to No. 4 on the NBA's top scorers list.
Posted on: February 8, 2012 12:22 pm

Kobe says he'd retire before going somewhere else

Kobe wants to retire a Laker. (Getty Images)
Posted by Royce Young

Kobe Bryant is 33 years old. But in basketball terms, he's older than that. He came straight out of high school into the NBA and has played in 1,128 games. That's a lot of games.

Retirement isn't on the horizon for Kobe, but it's certainly just over. He's had an incredible NBA career winning five rings and has just cracked the top five in all-time scoring. He could catch Wilt Chamberlain and Michael Jordan on the list and if he really stretched out his career, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar who he's about 9,500 points behind.

But he's not going to do that. Via an interview with ESPN:
How much more time do you think you have?
Kobe: It's interesting to me to hear people put the proverbial nail in the coffin. Very interesting. You think I'll hang around and average 19 points, 18 points and stuff like that? Hell no!

Can you imagine yourself in another uniform outside of a Lakers uniform?
Kobe: No.

So you'd retire before you went somewhere else?
Kobe: Why would I go somewhere else? That ship sailed in '07. ... I'm not going to jump ship to chase a sixth ring. I'm just not going to do it. It's either going to happen here or it's not going to happen. 

So in other words, he's not going to go the Jordan route. He's not going to come back to a team as an old man, average 18 games just with his post game and maybe make a playoff run. At least that's what he says. We'll see how Kobe feels when the reality has set in that he's not playing anymore.
Posted on: February 7, 2012 2:04 pm
Edited on: February 7, 2012 2:07 pm

Kobe calls Howard trade report 'kiddy drama spit'

Kobe Bryant denies a report that he tried to bring Dwight Howard to L.A. (Getty Images)
Posted by Ben Golliver

Los Angeles Lakers All-Star guard Kobe Bryant has many things to do: carry a weaker-than-usual Lakers team, find a new house to live in after his divorce, pitch KobeSystem shoe products, the list goes on.

One thing Bryant will not do: engage the daily Dwight Howard trade rumor mill.

Last week, a RealGM.com report indicated that Bryant pitched the Orlando Magic's All-Star center on joining the Lakers by saying that Howard could be a defensive stopper and third wheel before eventually become the franchise guy once Bryant retired.

The New York Post reports on Tuesday that Bryant called the report "not true" and said that he was "too old" for the online coverage of potential Howard trades, which he called "kiddy drama spit." 
“I have no clue what’s even being said. I have a lot to deal with as it is,” he replied. 

“omg! I’m not getting mixed up in this kiddy drama spit, bro. too old for that spit,” Bryant responded via email.
Bryant, 33, has made multiple references recently to his body clock ticking. He passed future Hall of Fame center Shaquille O'Neal on the NBA's All-Time scoring list on Monday and his key quote, as reported by Ken Berger of CBSSports.com: "I don't have many more of these games left."

It's difficult to argue when Bryant says that he is above the day-to-day minutiae of the rumor mill. But it's equally hard to imagine that he is actually above interest in acquiring Howard, who would help him acquire his coveted sixth championship ring.

After L.A.'s attempt to land All-Star point guard Chris Paul fell through before the season, all eyes turned to Howard as a potential savior for the Lakers. And that story isn't going anywhere until he signs an extension or is traded somewhere else. Bryant may have the luxury of tuning out the small stuff, but the bigger issue still looms. This kiddy drama spit ain't going away anytime soon.
Posted on: February 6, 2012 10:36 pm

Report Card: Jeremy Lin carries the Knicks

Posted by Royce Young

It's Linsanity in New York right now. (Getty Images)

It was a milestone kind of night in the NBA as the story was Kobe Bryant passing Shaquille O'Neal on the all-time scoring list, but a couple upsets, a couple overtime games and some big matchups were all part of a wild Monday night.

The New York Jeremy Lin's.

No Amar'e Stoudemire. No Carmelo Anthony, who went out with groin injury early in the first quarter. No problem for the Knicks against one of the West's good teams, the Utah Jazz. Behind a new career-high from Jeremy Lin who had 28 points and eight assists, also new career-high (but also eight turnovers, all in the second half), the Knicks were able to pull out an improbable win over a solid team. Jared Jeffries took five charges (!), Steve Novak randomly had 19 points and the Knicks got just enough from all over to win. This is maybe the type of game you can build on a bit. Backs against the wall and the role guys step up. Great win for the Knicks.

Philadelphia 76ers

Over the last seven days, the 76ers have taken down the Lakers Magic, Bulls and Hawks. I had them as a contender and the Sixers did a good job of making that call look pretty good. Lou Williams was terrific down the stretch against the Lakers Monday and the 76ers put away yet another good win. It's time to wake up about this team. These guys aren't just good. They're LEGIT.

Dwight Howard

Another tremendous game from Howard in a losing effort. It's a shame to see a guy go for 33 points and 14 rebounds in a losing effort, but the assertiveness from Howard was certainly nice to see. Howard took 21 shots, including 17 in the first half. Which moght then show you one of the issues the Magic tend to have -- getting the ball to Howard in key situations. It's not that he disappeared, he just wasn't near the offensive factor.

Kobe Bryant

Kobe passed Shaq on the all-time scoring list and did it in a very Kobe way. He needed 24 to pass Shaq and so he got 24 in the first half. The problem: Kobe finished with 28. He had just four points in the second half and shot 10-26 with five turnovers. A great night for Kobe in terms of history, but not a good night in terms of what transpired in his hometown Philly.

Utah Jazz

Yes, the Knicks winning is the story, but don't overlook the fact that the Jazz blew an easy opportunity to put another win on the board. No Stoudemire, no Melo and the Jazz let Novak, Lin and Shumpert beat them. That's not a good look for a team trying to battle for playoff positioning in the West.

New Jersey Nets

The Nets stink. They're bad. The Bulls probably could've beat them by 60 had Derrick Rose not left the game early with back spasms. The game was over very early as Chicago led 35-14 after a quarter and seemed to be ready to increase that every quarter. The final score, 108-87, doesn't really illustrate what a blowout this was.

Posted on: February 6, 2012 9:30 pm
Edited on: February 6, 2012 9:31 pm

Shaq congratulates Kobe for passing him

Posted by Royce Young

Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal didn't finish their relationship on the best of terms, but there was always mutual respect. And when Kobe passed Shaq for fifth all-time in career scoring, there wasn't any doubt that Shaq would give proper props.

Greatest Laker ever? We haven't forgotten Earvin Magic Johnson so quickly, have we? But then again, with Kobe now sitting firmly fifth all-time in scoring with a good chance to climb as high as third along with his five rings, maybe there's a case...
Posted on: February 6, 2012 8:01 pm
Edited on: February 6, 2012 9:34 pm

Kobe Bryant passes Shaq on all-time points list

Posted by Royce Young

Kobe now has pretty much every bragging right he needs over Shaquille O'Neal. Rings (5-4, Kobe) and now points.

Kobe passed Shaq on the NBA's all-time scoring list with a deep 2-pointer with 5:08 left in the second quarter Monday against the 76ers. Of course, fittingly, Philadelphia being Bryant's hometown. Sixers coach Doug Collins pulled a classy move following it by calling timeout to let there be some acknowledgment of the milestone.

Kobe now stands with 28,597 career points which places him fifth all-time behind Wilt Chamberlain (31,419), Michael Jordan (32,292), Karl Malone (36,928) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387). So currently, Kobe is a little less than 10,000 points behind Kareem meaning he would have to average about 23 points per game over the next five seasons (assuming he plays in all 82 games), to finish No. 1.

Bryant, who is still just 33 years old, could potentially do it. But he's played in a lot of games though and his body could wear out before he gets there. Abdul-Jabbar probably isn't in play, but Chamberlain and Jordan definitely are. There's a strong possibility of Kobe finishing third all-time in scoring. That's just... incredible.

Here's what Matt Moore of CBSSports.com wrote Monday
about Kobe passing his former teammate:
When Bryant passes O'Neal, however, it will not be the petulant child crossing the pillar of dominance without validation. Kobe Bryant, remarkably, considering what we thought that summer in 2004, has proved himself the better player. He is the second best shooting guard the game of basketball has ever witnessed.

Were it not for his airness, he would likely be regarded as the best player of the modern era, arguably the best of all time. That he is measured constantly against the complete, nearly spotless, and unfathomably incredible resume of Michael Jordan only fuels the fire that is the public debate over Kobe Bryant. Never as good as Jordan, but good enough to dare and make the ascent to try.
As for passing Shaq, it took Kobe 1,128 games to reach this mark while it took Shaq 1,207. Over his career, Kobe has averaged about two more points per game than Shaq partly because of the final four years of Shaq's career where he barely averaged double-digits while battling injuries and age.

Kobe Bean is now a top five all-time scorer though, which is an incredible place to be. It's a little hard to really put his career in perspective right now because it's not finished, but when it's all said and done, you'll be able to put Kobe's resume up against pretty much anyone's.
Posted on: February 6, 2012 5:50 pm
Edited on: February 7, 2012 10:32 am

Kobe Bryant passes Shaq on all-time scoring list

Kobe Bryant moves ahead of Shaquille O'Neal on the all-time scoring list Monday night. (Getty Images)
By Matt Moore

Kobe Bryant passed Shaquille O'Neal on the all-time scoring list Monday night with 28 points, passing the former Lakers center in the first half of a loss to Philadelphia. 

Of Bryant's 1,127 games, he has scored 23 points or fewer in just 498. To put that in perspective, Bryant has scored 24 points or higher more often than he's scored less. Which is independently insane. So the odds were pretty great that Byrant would score 24 points Monday night. Bryant came out firing and lit up the Sixers in the first half to clear the mark before bottoming out and going 2-of-12 in the second half. 

It set the stage for what nonetheless was a phenomenal night in Philadelphia, a home of sorts to Bryant, if anywhere can really be home for Bryant.  Bryant was born in Philadelphia, and spent his high school career there. It was there he declared for the NBA draft right out of high school, and began a career that has become legend. And throughout that career, during good times and bad, he has been intertwined with the player he passed Monday, Shaquille O'Neal. 

NBA scoring listThere is no narrative here of student and teacher. Bryant and O'Neal were no contemporaries. Shaq's prime came during Bryant's ascension. Bryant was not the man when O'Neal was in town, not in role, not in effect, not in personality. It was Shaq who was the face of the Lakers, and Bryant's brilliance was an underlining, a framing of that. But every year it became more and more apparent that it was Bryant in which the Lakers' future resided, and more and more apparent that the two could not co-exist.

I spoke with former L.A. Daily News and current New York Times reporter Howard Beck for an audio magazine I publish independently of CBSSports.com. Beck covered O'Neal during that championship run in the early 2000's, and in the interview he discusses how you can't discuss Shaq of that era without discussing Kobe, nor vice-versa. He spoke of how at one point O'Neal discussed in a private moment with Beck his ongoing tumultuous relationship with Bryant and how he himself, how neither side could understand why they couldn't get along. 

And yet they did not.

The Lakers lost the 2004 title due to brilliant defense by the Detroit Pistons and an injury to Karl Malone, the Lakers traded Shaq for Lamar Odom, Caron Butler, and pieces, and O'Neal went on to win his fourth title. Bryant languished in L.A., trying to drag a poor roster deep in the playoffs behind his own monstrous individual performances. It was the birth of the questions of exactly how much Bryant should shoot, how much Bryant should try and score, whether he can make his teammates better.

It remains a debate, two titles later.

Bryant passing O'Neal, however, was not the the petulant child crossing the pillar of dominance without validation. Kobe Bryant, remarkably, considering what we thought that summer in 2004, has proved himself the better player. He is the second-best shooting guard the game of basketball has ever witnessed. Were it not for his airness, he would likely be regarded as the best player of the modern era, arguably the best of all time. That he is measured constantly against the complete, nearly spotless, and unfathomably incredible resume of Michael Jordan only fuels the fire that is the public debate over Kobe Bryant. Never as good as Jordan, but good enough to dare and make the ascent to try.

We talk of defense in the modern game. Of the pick-and-roll, and efficiency, of usage and help defense, of points per possession and win shares. But the game of basketball is built around one team, made up of five players, trying to score more points than the other. Kobe Bryant took another step up the scoring mountain Monday night, passing his rival, his former teammate, his former partner in championship glory.

Bryant's career isn't over. He's seeking revenge for a humiliating sweep to the Mavericks. He's cementing his legacy and still trying to prove he is the player his loudest advocates suggest. He scored, he passed O'Neal, he will move forward to the next game. But it's important to take this moment and recognize that Bryant passing O'Neal isn't simply a matter of digits. It's a microcosm of where Bryant came from, Philadelphia, where he came to prominence, alongside while simultaneously versus Shaq, and where he has arrived, as the elite scorer of the modern age of basketball.

28 points on 26 shots. Passing another legend, losing the game. The fire of debate over Kobe Bryant continues.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com