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View Full Version : Kobe hopes to play in season opener, will make pitch for Dwight (+ more in interview)



JerseyPalahniuk
06-03-2013, 10:40 PM
http://espn.go.com/los-angeles/nba/story/_/id/9339567/kobe-bryant-los-angeles-lakers-aims-opener-wants-last-word-dwight-howard


EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Stitches removed, out of a cast and with nearly six weeks of rehabilitation under his belt since surgery to repair a torn Achilles tendon in his left leg, Kobe Bryant is still hoping for a return by the Los Angeles Lakers' 2013-14 season opener.

"I hope so," Bryant said in a sit-down interview with ESPNLosAngeles.com on Monday. "That's the challenge. With the tendon, there's really only but so much you can do. There's a certain amount of time that they deem necessary for the tendon to heal where you don't overstretch it and now you never get that spring back.

"So, you just have to be patient, let the tendon heal, and then when that moment comes when they say, 'OK, we can take off the regulator so to speak and now it's on you to train as hard as you can to get back to where you want to be,' that's going to be a good day."

Before that day is likely to occur, there will be another date on the calendar that holds particular significance for how Bryant's Lakers will look next season: July 1, the day Dwight Howard can begin to hear competing offers as a free agent.

While Howard reportedly has strong interest in the Houston Rockets and could be courted by Dallas, Atlanta, Golden State and Cleveland, Bryant is in no rush to be the first to pitch the All-Star center to come back to L.A.

"For me, you kind of let him do his due diligence and then move in and talk to him and figure out if this is a place he wants to be," Bryant said. "We all want him here. But then that's when the selling begins [after Howard is courted by other teams]. You don't start the selling process right before he goes and does all this stuff. You want to get the last word. You want to have the final word and the closing argument.

"I'll give him a little opening statement, but then I have to make sure I have the final word."

If Howard ends up being a one-year rental rather than the face of the franchise moving forward, Bryant is confident the Lakers, with 16 championships to their credit, will still find a way to thrive.

"This franchise is a franchise that you really don't have to worry about too much, because no matter what happens, whether it's a year from now, two years from now, whatever the case may be, they're always going to find a way to have an impact on this league," Bryant said.

Should the Lakers resort to a Plan B if Howard walks, Bryant said he will make his voice part of the process.

"It's gotten to a point at this stage in my career where those lines of communication are more open and we talk more frequently both with [general manager] Mitch [Kupchak] and [vice president of player personnel] Jimmy and [vice president of business operations] Jeanie [Buss] to a certain extent," Bryant said. "Those lines of communication are open."

Bryant has already communicated with Jeanie Buss' fiance and his former coach, Phil Jackson, over what Jackson wrote about Bryant in his recent book, "Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success," in which Jackson gave the nod to Michael Jordan when comparing the two shooting guards.

"I talked to Phil about it," said Bryant, who added that he has not read the book. "I said, 'You know, you can't compare me at [age] 21-22-23 to Michael at 28-29-30. That's not a fair comparison. But, you know, I'm comfortable at resting on my five [championships] and what I had to do for this team to be successful.

"We both had different roles, and [Jordan] had his level of frustration coming up as a young player and challenges that he had to deal with, and I had mine in playing a different role to what I thought naturally I could do. We had different career paths, man, so it's kind of tough to [compare]. At least for me it is, anyway."

While Jordan holds the edge in championships (six to Bryant's five) and career points (32,292 for third all time to Bryant's 31,617 for fourth all time), [B]Bryant said he has already accomplished what he set out to achieve when he was drafted into the NBA as a 17-year-old out of high school in 1996.

"When I came into the league, I wanted to win multiple championships," Bryant said, appearing in good spirits and clean shaven after growing a beard for nearly a month following his Achilles surgery. "As a young kid, it was like, well, this is what you're supposed to do. You're supposed to win five, six, seven championships, because that's what Magic [Johnson] did. That's what [Bill] Russell did. That's what Jordan did. I feel very comfortable with my career and what I've been able to accomplish in that regard."


Plus, there is one area in which Jackson ranked Bryant ahead of Jordan: in their player-coach relationship. Jackson recently told "Mike & Mike in the Morning" on ESPN Radio that he was closer to Bryant than any other player he coached in his 20 seasons manning the sidelines for the Lakers and Chicago Bulls.

"Go figure," Bryant said, shrugging. "It's just a great example of how relationships evolve, of how relationships can grow."

Bryant wants Jackson to continue to harbor more relationships by working in the NBA in some capacity.

"I think it would be a disservice to the game if he wasn't involved in the game at some level," Bryant said. "I think he still has a lot to offer the game and I think he wants to offer it. So, my guess is that he'll be involved at some level. At least, I hope so."

While it's unknown whether Jackson will return to the NBA or how long it will be until he does so, it's also unclear how much more time Bryant will stay in it. Bryant has one year remaining on his contract with the Lakers and has yet to commit to playing beyond what will be his 18th season in the league.

One thing that's certain is Bryant does not plan on announcing to the world when his final season is underway.

"I don't know if I want a farewell tour because I want that competition," said Bryant, who called himself a "dinosaur" following the recent retirements of Jason Kidd and Grant Hill. "I want the crowd being on top of you all the time. I wouldn't want a farewell tour. No. I wouldn't do that."

Utd7
06-03-2013, 10:44 PM
That extra 30 mil could be the only thing to keep Dwight a Laker.

jerellh528
06-03-2013, 10:52 PM
If Dwight resigns, he can tell the front office basically who he wants piece by piece next offseason. Like the only ones that would be under contract are Howard and Nash.

VCaintdead17
06-03-2013, 11:10 PM
Kobe isn't playing in the season opener

jerellh528
06-03-2013, 11:11 PM
Kobe isn't playing in the season opener

I wouldn't bet against it, but it will be a tough recovery time. It is kobe after all, his passion for the game is unmatched.

3RDASYSTEM
06-03-2013, 11:35 PM
That extra 30 mil could be the only thing to keep Dwight a Laker.

Not really because he's likely to opt out anyway after yr 3 no later than yr4 to re up with same team or test market for another

blame BRON for that also

knock off that 5th yr and its open season for his services

ROCKETS and MAVS are right there with LA

Chrisclover
06-04-2013, 12:50 AM
I wouldn't bet against it, but it will be a tough recovery time. It is kobe after all, his passion for the game is unmatched.
totally agree.kobe 's unmatched work ethic and crazy mentality will push him to the floor , and he will as usual give us glamorous performances. his physical attributes are just too superlative, second to none!
Bravo! mamba

waveycrockett
06-04-2013, 12:52 AM
Pathetic. Give it up Kobe.

DODGERS&LAKERS
06-04-2013, 12:52 AM
Not really because he's likely to opt out anyway after yr 3 no later than yr4 to re up with same team or test market for another

blame BRON for that also

knock off that 5th yr and its open season for his services

ROCKETS and MAVS are right there with LA

The Lakers offer will have an opt out in 3 years just like the Rockets or any other team. The thing that they offer that no other team does is the insurance of the guaranteed money even if he falls off the map due to injury. I bet Bynum wishes he got a 5 year guarantee. Now he will be lucky to get a 10 million dollar one year offer. Injuries happen. That pitch will be put in Dwights ear.

Trueblue2
06-04-2013, 02:13 AM
Not really because he's likely to opt out anyway after yr 3 no later than yr4 to re up with same team or test market for another

blame BRON for that also

knock off that 5th yr and its open season for his services

ROCKETS and MAVS are right there with LA

Yea but Dwight doesn't know how healthy he's gonna be in 3 years, he just spent a year dealing with a major injury that made him not able to play to his full potential. Having the option to opt in just in case he's no longer a max worthy player in 5 years is definitely a factor in his decision making. I'm not saying Dwight is guaranteed to stay, but to say the length of contract the Lakers can offer doesn't matter is just dumb (not a personal shot at you, I'm calling that line of thought dumb).

OceanSpray
06-04-2013, 02:18 AM
Kobe isn't Derrick Rose. He will play if he can.

Dade County
06-04-2013, 03:46 AM
Howard should change his numbers just like Lbj did in the summer of 2010 (Jay Z couldn't get the last word in either ).

sunsfan88
06-04-2013, 06:51 AM
Forget Kobe's and MJ's rings, IMO what separates them most is their efficiency.

MJ was much more efficient than Kobe. 50% shooting for MJ who didn't have anyone like Shaq who demanded double teams leaving him to be open.

Kobe shot just 45%.

That IMO is the biggest difference.

Slug3
06-04-2013, 09:36 AM
Forget Kobe's and MJ's rings, IMO what separates them most is their efficiency.

MJ was much more efficient than Kobe. 50% shooting for MJ who didn't have anyone like Shaq who demanded double teams leaving him to be open.

Kobe shot just 45%.

That IMO is the biggest difference.

Why are you even bringing this up when this is about Kobe just trying to get back and play the game?

NOheisman
06-04-2013, 10:03 AM
Forget Kobe's and MJ's rings, IMO what separates them most is their efficiency.

MJ was much more efficient than Kobe. 50% shooting for MJ who didn't have anyone like Shaq who demanded double teams leaving him to be open.

Kobe shot just 45%.

That IMO is the biggest difference.

Your post subject efficiency 2%

ILLUSIONIST^248
06-04-2013, 12:07 PM
Your post subject efficiency 2%

:laugh:

Pakman
06-04-2013, 12:14 PM
Forget Kobe's and MJ's rings, IMO what separates them most is their efficiency.

MJ was much more efficient than Kobe. 50% shooting for MJ who didn't have anyone like Shaq who demanded double teams leaving him to be open.

Kobe shot just 45%.

That IMO is the biggest difference.

Your post subject efficiency 2%win.

JordansBulls
06-04-2013, 12:22 PM
Forget Kobe's and MJ's rings, IMO what separates them most is their efficiency.

MJ was much more efficient than Kobe. 50% shooting for MJ who didn't have anyone like Shaq who demanded double teams leaving him to be open.

Kobe shot just 45%.

That IMO is the biggest difference.

What the hell does this have to do with anything? We are talking about Kobe playing in opener and Dwight staying. What a way to go off topic here.

Iron24th
06-04-2013, 12:29 PM
What the hell does this have to do with anything? We are talking about Kobe playing in opener and Dwight staying. What a way to go off topic here.

+1

ThaDubs
06-04-2013, 12:30 PM
Good luck Kobe. :)

jam
06-04-2013, 09:16 PM
It didn't work out. Dwight's gone.

Welcome to the miserable Jim Buss era.

TrueFan420
06-04-2013, 09:34 PM
Forget Kobe's and MJ's rings, IMO what separates them most is their efficiency.

MJ was much more efficient than Kobe. 50% shooting for MJ who didn't have anyone like Shaq who demanded double teams leaving him to be open.

Kobe shot just 45%.

That IMO is the biggest difference.

Unneeded

Hawkeye15
06-04-2013, 09:41 PM
I can't see any way Kobe plays in the season opener.

Jenceman
06-04-2013, 09:43 PM
I wouldn't doubt him in the least

jam
06-04-2013, 09:44 PM
Kobe's defense was appalling before the injury. Can't imagine how bad the dropoff will be after.

If Dwight leaves, and I think he will, the lakers are quite possibly looking at a sub 500 season.


I can't see any way Kobe plays in the season opener.

jam
06-04-2013, 09:45 PM
But how effective will he be? He'll be looking to score and pad his stat line, but his defense is going to be the worst of his career.


I wouldn't doubt him in the least

JerseyPalahniuk
06-04-2013, 10:47 PM
I say he comes back by December. Those who don't expect him for the opener, what month do you think?

jam
06-04-2013, 11:03 PM
Kobe will come back, but he'll be 35. He is going to be a major defensive liability and since dantoni knows nothing about defense to begin with, he won't have any way to compensate for another significant drop-off in kobe's defense.

The question is not so much about what type of a player Kobe will be, but how bad the lakers will be, and for how long.

soundjunkies2
06-04-2013, 11:31 PM
Kobe will come back, but he'll be 35. He is going to be a major defensive liability and since dantoni knows nothing about defense to begin with, he won't have any way to compensate for another significant drop-off in kobe's defense.

The question is not so much about what type of a player Kobe will be, but how bad the lakers will be, and for how long.

I don't think they'll be bad but they wont be great. If Dwight leaves then hopefully they tank next season and get good position in one of the better drafts since they'll actually have a pick.

jam
06-05-2013, 05:24 AM
With Kobe and Gasol, the lakers should be a .500 ballclub again. Gasol can play C again, and Kobe won't have to worry about placating Howard all of the time. Nash will likely be in and out of the lineup, so I don't know how much he can offer. Unfortunately, they will be terrible yet again defensively, so they won't be much above .500.

They should be entertaining enough for the lakers faithful, for one, maybe two more seasons.

The future is cloudy and uncertain for the lakeshow.


I don't think they'll be bad but they wont be great. If Dwight leaves then hopefully they tank next season and get good position in one of the better drafts since they'll actually have a pick.

beliges
06-05-2013, 03:33 PM
But how effective will he be? He'll be looking to score and pad his stat line, but his defense is going to be the worst of his career.

Clearly his defense will not be dominant as it has been throughout his career. However, in his 18th season, his defense is not expected to be spectacular.

RLundi
06-05-2013, 03:38 PM
I hope Dwight goes to Houston, I'd love to see him and Harden together.

Idk if Kobe can come back by opening day, but I wouldn't put it past him. It is Kobe after all

ILLUSIONIST^248
06-05-2013, 03:42 PM
I can't see any way Kobe plays in the season opener.

Bet? :). This is Kobe were are talking about, not Drose.

lol, please
06-05-2013, 03:49 PM
His last words will be, "please don't smash on us too hard when you go to the Warriors and win back to back 'ships Dwight."

ILLUSIONIST^248
06-05-2013, 03:52 PM
His last words will be, "please don't smash on us too hard when you go to the Warriors and win back to back 'ships Dwight."

^LoL^ someone has high hopes.

c.c.
06-05-2013, 10:01 PM
Nerlens Noel will suite up before Kobe

Lakers + Giants
06-06-2013, 03:19 PM
^LoL^ someone has high hopes.

no, just a troll.

85BearsDefense
06-06-2013, 03:25 PM
Kobe isn't Derrick Rose. He will play if he can.

Another clown.

tr3ymill3r
06-06-2013, 03:29 PM
Yes, it's Kobe, but he is still a human and not nearly the freak that Adrian Peterson is, he won't be back opening night and if he is, he won't be there come playoff time again.