Byron Scott confident he can coexist with Kobe Bryant

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, right, looks to pass around Indiana Pacers forward Paul George in an NBA basketball game in March 2013.  Bryant played only six games last season. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, right, looks to pass around Indiana Pacers forward Paul George in an NBA basketball game in March 2013. Bryant played only six games last season. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

In 1996, an 18-year-old Kobe Bryant just starting his NBA career, shared a sideline with Byron Scott, who was ending his own. Faded photos almost two decades old show the pair sitting next to each other on the sideline, dressed in bright yellow warm up suits: the rookie and the veteran.

This season, they will be the aging superstar and the new coach.

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Mike D’Antoni has funny retort to conversation had by Nick Young and Pau Gasol

Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni, prior to Sunday’s game against the visiting Orlando Magic, was told of a recent conversation that took place between Nick Young and Pau Gasol, who apparently want to do everything they can to avoid being the worst Lakers team since it moved to Los Angeles for the 1960-61 season.

The 1974-75 Lakers went 30-52. These Lakers are 22-46 and would have to go 9-5 over their last 14 games in order to accomplish what Gasol and Young want. That would make them 31-51.

“They probably should have had that conversation a little earlier, first off,” D’Antoni said, drawing a large round of laughter from assembled reporters. “But you know, hey, great, whatever we try to do is good.”

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Good chance of Steve Blake, Steve Nash and Jordan Farmar playing against Minnesota

The Lakers have a good chance of getting back three familiar faces on the court in guards Steve Blake, Jordan Farmar and Steve Nash when Los Angeles takes on Minnesota tomorrow.

“I think they are all ready to go, “said Lakers head coach Mike D’Antoni after practice on Monday. “We’ll see how everybody wakes up, but there is a possibility that all three could play.”

Both Blake and Farmar said they felt good after practice, but would not give a definitive answer when asked if they would be playing tomorrow.

“We’ll see,” said Blake, whose right elbow was wrapped in ice when he addressed reporters. “I felt pretty good today in practice and I’ll see how I feel when I am when I wake up and go from there.”

“I’m not sure about tomorrow, we’ll see,” said Farmar. “I’m available if they allow me too, but I don’t know how they will work it out. Everyone is coming back at the same time so they are just trying to balance things out.”

All three guards returned to practice earlier in the week.

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Kobe Bryant responds to Jim Brown’s comments made on Arsenio Hall Show

NFL Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown had some not-so-flattering things to say about Kobe Bryant during an interview on the Arsenio Hall Show on Tuesday night. For one thing, he said, Bryant “threw Shaq under the bus,” referring to former Lakers teammate Shaquille O’Neal. The worst was yet to come.

Here is more of the dialogue of that interview.

“He is somewhat confused about culture because he was brought up in another country, so it doesn’t quite fit with what’s happening in America,” Brown said of Bryant, who lived in Italy for several years as a youth, but played high school ball in Philadelphia. Brown referred to Bryant as “an unbelievable athlete,” but also said, “In the days when we had a summit and we called the top black athletes together to talk to Muhammad Ali about his status with the armed forces, there were some athletes we didn’t call. So if I had to call that summit all over, there would be some athletes I wouldn’t call. And Kobe would be one of them.”

Bryant’s first response was via twitter: A “Global” African American is an inferior shade to “American” African Americans?? .. that doesn’t sound very or sir.

Bryant on Thursday was asked about the whole thing. The first thing he did was admit to being somewhat astonished by Brown’s comments.

“Well, I mean, it surprised me because it just came out of left field,” Bryant said after practice. “I’ve never even met him, so it came out of left field. But I do think it’s a great opportunity to have these conversations and this discussion. No matter where you come from, whether you come from Italy, whether you come from  Inglewood , whether you come from London, it doesnt matter. Ultimately, the conversation is it doesnt matter what color skin you are to begin with.

“But I think its a good place to start and have a good conversation and try to educate one another and try to improve as a society from it.”

Bryant was asked if he would like to have that discussion with Brown.

“No, there’s nothing to talk about,” he said. “We have different perceptions, different views on it, clearly. So the thing that I try to do is always, what I’ve been trying to do, is try to educate our youth going forward, no matter what color skin you are – African American, white or whatever the case may be.

“Just try to talk about having a bright future and how to help the kids going forward, progress as a society as a whole. So he and I, there’s no reason for us to have a conversation because we’re on opposite sides of the spectrum. I’m an old dog, but he’s a much older dog, so he’s probably a lot more set in his ways than I am.”

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Pau Gasol exceeding expectations with his recovery

Pau Gasol. The Los Angeles Lakers held a media day at their El Segundo practice facility. Players were photographed for team materials, and interviewed by the press. El Segundo, CA. 9/27/2013. photo by (John McCoy/Los Angeles Daily News)

Pau Gasol. The Los Angeles Lakers held a media day at their El Segundo practice facility. Players were photographed for team materials, and interviewed by the press. El Segundo, CA. 9/27/2013. photo by (John McCoy/Los Angeles Daily News)

With the hopes of keeping his 33-year-old knees healthy for the grinding 82-game NBA season, Pau Gasol planned to ease his way into training camp.

Five days into camp, that plan apparently changed. After spending this summer resting after having a procedure to fix his knee tendinosis, Gasol has exceeded his own expectations on how he’d perform on the court.

“I didn’t think I’d be able to practice fully at this point,” Gasol said. “It’s been good.”
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NBA2K14 trailer highlights Kobe Bryant’s comeback

Kobe Bryant stayed on the ground clutching his left leg, an ominous sign for a Lakers season rife with championship aspirations spiraling further and further into a bad $100 million investment. It turns out the news became as bad as what the image suggested. Bryant had just suffered a torn left Achilles tendon, shattering any hopes of the Lakers making a deep playoff run and raising too many uncertainties for the distant future.

With the Lakers opening training camp this past week, some questions don’t have much clarity. When will Bryant return? How will his game look? How far can Bryant carry the Lakers? Bryant has struck a balance between staying patient with his recovery without shattering his optimism he can collect his sixth NBA championship. Still, the uncertainty looms.

But based on Bryant’s past history in overcoming past injuries, NBA2K14 has unleashed a trailer that suggests the Lakers star will still pull the miraculous. The footage above shows Bryant hitting game winners through double teams without much time on the clock. It features Bryant exploding to the rim and finishing with high-light worthy plays. The trailer demonstrates Bryant’s unyielding desire to fight Father Time no matter how many times it strikes back.
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Mike D’Antoni views Steve Blake, Jordan Farmar as great guards for his system

Lakers #1 Jordan Farmar, #0 Nick Young and #5 Steve Blake enter the practice facility for media day. The Los Angeles Lakers held a media day at their El Segundo practice facility. Players were photographed for team materials, and interviewed by the press. El Segundo, CA. 9/27/2013. photo by (John McCoy/Los Angeles Daily News)

Lakers #1 Jordan Farmar, #0 Nick Young and #5 Steve Blake enter the practice facility for media day. The Los Angeles Lakers held a media day at their El Segundo practice facility. Players were photographed for team materials, and interviewed by the press. El Segundo, CA. 9/27/2013. photo by (John McCoy/Los Angeles Daily News)

Overlapping injuries to Steve Nash and Steve Blake left the Lakers last season seriously exposed in the backcourt.

Not anymore.

Nash and Blake have fully recovered. Meanwhile, the Lakers added Jordan Farmar this offseason three years after playing as a critical reserve in the Lakers’ back-to-back championship seasons (2009-10).

“There will be room for all three of them,” D’Antoni said.
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Kobe Bryant feeding off of ESPN ranking, Michael Jordan’s comments

The Kobe Bryant-Michael Jordan comparisons took another turn, and it went beyond Phil Jackson writing about them in a book or basketball fans endlessly debating about them.

Jordan threw himself in the conversation by sharing he openly imagines playing against NBA legends in their prime, including Jerry West, Elgin Baylor, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony, and, of course, Bryant.

Jordan threw the famed Laker a compliment. Sort of.

“I don’t think I’d lose other than Kobe Bryant because he steals all my moves.” Jordan said in an interview promoting the video game, NBA2K14.

To which Bryant responded on Twitter.

“Domino effect. I stole some of his … this generation stole some of mine. Bryant then added the hashtag, #thecycle.

How would that Bryant-Jordan one-on-one game play out?

“He’s about 50 years old. It would be a hard time now,” Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni said of Jordan before laughing. “Back then? I don’t know. He’s one of the greatest, if not greatest player. It would be fun to watch him play, that’s for sure. But I have no clue.”
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Magic Johnson doubts Kobe Bryant will return for season opener

Beneath his bubbly personality, Magic Johnson often reveals a brutally honest assessment surrounding the Lakers.

His skepticism these days doesn’t just rely on the Lakers’ slim championship fortunes, the product of a first-round sweep last season to San Antonio, Dwight Howard’s departure and uncertainty surrounding Kobe Bryant’s torn left Achilles tendon, From one Lakers legend to another, Johnson also doubts Bryant will return in time for the team’s season opener Oct. 29 against the Clippers at Staples Center.

“I don’t think he’ll make the first game,” Johnson said Monday on NBC’s Tonight Show with Jay Leno. “I think that’s asking a lot of a man who’s dealing with an Achilles and he blew it out to come back for the first game. I think it’s going to be later than that.”
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Will Jordan Hill expand his game?

The job description Mike D’Antoni provided for Jordan Hill represents a perfect case study on both a player’s evolution and a coach’s perception of him.

Four years ago, D’Antoni found so little use for Hill as the New York Knicks’ eighth overall draft pick that he hardly played his rookie season before getting shipped to the Houston Rockets. Nearly a year ago, D’Antoni sat Hill for three consecutive games because he saw no value in how he’d fit into a offense predicated on outside shooters until his endlessly valuable and defense convinced him otherwise. During this offseason, both D’Antoni and Kobe Bryant both instructed Hill to work on his mid-range game, an order the Lakers forward took to heart by taking between 600-700 shots per day at his Atlanta residence.

D’Antoni remains undecided whether Hill will start at power forward alongside Pau Gasol or if he will come off the bench. But D’Antoni remains adamant that Hill can become an effective mid-range shooter without diluting his effectiveness as an energy player in rebounding and on defense.

“One doesn’t mean he can’t do the other,” D’Antoni said. “If you’re shooting it, you’re not getting the rebound. When he’s not shooting it, he’ll get the rebound. It’ll just make him a better player.”
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