Kobe Bryant meets with Trayvon Martin’s’ parents at rally

Kobe Bryant spoke into the microphone about an issue after initially staying silent on it. Bryant distanced himself from the Miami Heat wearing a hoodie to symbolize Trayvon Martin being shot by George Zimmerman despite remaining unarmed while wearing a hoodie in his Florida neighborhood. Yet, Bryant connected himself by participating in a rally run by the Trayvon Martin Foundation at Crenshaw High School on the one-year anniversary of Zimmerman’s “not guilty” ruling.

“Telling that story is absolutely phenomenal because those are stories that need to be told,” Bryant said in the video above. “Players, such as myself, and others that have a platform, our responsibility is more than putting the ball in the basket, but helping them have a platform to tell their story.”

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Kobe Bryant hits home run in celebrity softball game

Finally, Kobe Bryant put on a uniform. He played in a game. And he dazzled the crowd watching his every move.

It remains far too early to write Bryant’s comeback after appearing in only six games last season amid overlapping injuries to his left Achilles tendon and left knee. But it’s not too early for Lakers fans to still feel excited about Bryant, who nailed a home run on Sunday in Richard Sherman’s celebrity softball game in Seattle.

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Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter. E-mail him at mark.medina@langnews.com

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Kendall Marshall picked up by Milwaukee Bucks

The Milwaukee Bucks picked up Kendall Marshall on waivers. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze file)

The Milwaukee Bucks picked up Kendall Marshall on waivers. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze file)

Amid LeBron James returning to Cleveland, Carmelo Anthony staying in New York and Pau Gasol saying goodbye to the Lakers, there marks another scenario that did not go according to plan.

The Milwaukee Bucks were rewarded the contract of Kendall Marshall less than a week after the Lakers waived him, nullifying any chance for the the Lakers to re-sign him.

The Lakers let go of Marshall last week only because it would clear up cap space so they could sign Carlos Boozer and make room for Nick Young’s four-year, $21.5 million deal. Both Marshall and Lakers remained interested in staying together had he cleared waivers. But the Bucks did not wait to grab Marshall, who averaged eight points and 8.8 assists in 54 games last season after playing in the Development League.

The Lakers still have some depth in their backcourt, including Jeremy Lin, Steve Nash and Jordan Clarkson. But Marshall’s defection makes it possible the Lakers will try to acquire another point guard.

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Follow L.A Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter. E-mail him at mark.medina@langnews.com

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Lakers to bring back Ryan Kelly

Photo: Keith Birmingham Pasadena Star-News

Photo: Keith Birmingham Pasadena Star-News

In what marks one of the few final moves during free agency, Ryan Kelly agreed to a deal to return to the Lakers, according to a league source familiar with the situation. The terms were not readily available, but it was likely either a one or two-year deal.

The Lakers expected they would bring Kelly back barring the second-year forward attracting a high offer elsewhere. After the Lakers selected him with the 48th pick of the 2013 NBA draft, Kelly impressed the Lakers with his floor spacing, basketball IQ and shooting. All of those qualities contributed toward averaging eight points on 42.3 percent shooting and 33.8 percent from three-point range. The Lakers also granted Kelly a $1.1 million qualifying offer to make him a restricted free agent, which gave them the right to match any offersheet he received. Kelly made $490,180 last season and would have likely only needed a slight raise to keep him.

Questions abound on how Kelly can improve on his defense and to what degree his game benefitted from former Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni, whose fast-paced system puts a heavy emphasis on a so-called stretch forward to make outside shots and stretch the floor. But Kelly’s work ethic and fundamentally sound play suggests his development will grow.

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Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter. E-mail him at mark.medina@langnews.com

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Lakers agree to deal with Wesley Johnson

The Lakers agreed to a one-year, $1 million deal with Wesley Johnson Rick Bowmer / The Associated Press

The Lakers agreed to a one-year, $1 million deal with Wesley Johnson Rick Bowmer / The Associated Press

The Lakers agreed to a deal to bring back forward Wesley Johnson, according to a league source familiar with the situation.

The terms were not readily available, but it is believed to be a one-year deal worth $1 million, as reported by ESPN’s Chris Broussard. The signing is somewhat surprising. Though the Lakers never ruled bringing back Johnson, they did not consider keeping him to be a top priority after his 9.1 points per game average on 42.6 percent shooting last season featured inconsistent offensive and defensive performances.

But the Lakers were willing to resign Johnson for reasons including his age (27), athleticism and being a good teammate. The Lakers currently have 11 players under contract, including Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Robert Sacre, Julius Randle, Jeremy Lin, Carlos Boozer, Nick Young, Jordan Hill, Ed Davis, Xavier Henry and Johnson. The Lakers also have a non-guaranteed deal to Jordan Clarkson. The Lakers are also expected to re-sign Ryan Kelly, who was given a $1.1 million qualifying offer to become a restricted free agent.

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Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter. E-mail him at mark.medina@langnews.com

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Pau Gasol recalls difficulty telling Kobe Bryant he would leave Lakers

The bond grew stronger with each NBA championship they won together. The cement remained deeply rooted amid the losing, injuries and trade uncertainty. Yet, after years of Kobe Bryant pleading the Lakers not to trade Pau Gasol away, Gasol told Bryant that he would leave.

Gasol signed with the Chicago Bulls to a reported three-year $22 million deal, marking a relative paycut that he could have attracted elsewhere, including the Lakers. But with Gasol mostly motivated to join a team equipped to win an NBA championship, that meant he needed to desert the Lakers’ rebuilding project and his trusted ally in Bryant.

“It was difficult. We have a close friendship,” Gasol said of Bryant to reporters on Friday in Chicago. “We’ve been through a lot together. I’m sure I’ll miss him. We talked to each other and our relationship goes beyond basketball. We’ll always have a friendship. That’s where it stays.”

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Kobe Bryant competes with fan in a game of H-O-R-S-E

Kobe Bryant wants to win, so much that he will go toward any lengths just to win a game of H-O-R-S-E against a fan.

He will throw up simple albeit difficult layups just to catch up to a fan who surprisingly took an early lead. Bryant will attempt countless step-back jumpers, the same ones he has made over and over during his 18-year career. Of course, Bryant will also talk trash along the way.

So it should hardly be surprising that Bryant’s contest against a fan named S. Sami turned out the way it did at his camp in Santa Barbara. You see Bryant at his vulnerable. You see Bryant with confidence he will climb back from adversity. You see Bryant relying on his scoring versatility. You see Bryant remaining intimidating. And, of course, you see Bryant relishing a victory.

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Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter. E-mail him at mark.medina@langnews.com

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Xavier Henry to stay with the Lakers

In this file photo, Los Angeles Laker Xavier Henry makes an attempt for the basket against Golden State Warrior defense during a preseason Lakers game against the Warriors at the Citizens Business Bank Area in Ontario on Saturday, Oct. 5, 2013. (Photo by Rachel Luna / San Bernardino Sun file)

In this file photo, Los Angeles Laker Xavier Henry makes an attempt for the basket against Golden State Warrior defense during a preseason Lakers game against the Warriors at the Citizens Business Bank Area in Ontario on Saturday, Oct. 5, 2013. (Photo by Rachel Luna / San Bernardino Sun file)

The Lakers have reached an agreement to bring back Xavier Henry to a one-year deal worth $1 million, according to multiple reports.

Henry appeared to confirm the news on Twitter.

Henry’s return adds some much needed depth at the small forward spot that includes Nick Young and occasionally Kobe Bryant. Henry averaged 10 points per game last season, thanks to a heavy dose of athleticism and aggressiveness. Henry is currently recovering from offseason surgery on his right knee and left wrist, injuries that kept him out for a combined 39 games. Henry said last month that he expects to heal by late July. Though the Lakers have not medically cleared him to train in all basketball activities, it remains unclear at which stage he has advanced in his recovery. Last month, Henry performed a series of individual basketball drills only using his right hand.

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Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter. E-mail him at mark.medina@langnews.com

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Lakers waive Kendall Marshall

In this file photo, the Lakers' Kendall Marshall (12) shoots a fade away jump shot against the Jazz in a NBA Western Conference basketball game at the Staples Center on Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, Los Angeles, Calif. The Lakers lost 79-96. (Photo by Steve McCrank/Daily Breeze file)

In this file photo, the Lakers’ Kendall Marshall (12) shoots a fade away jump
shot against the Jazz in a NBA Western Conference basketball game at the Staples Center on Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, Los Angeles, Calif. The Lakers lost 79-96. (Photo by Steve McCrank/Daily Breeze file)

To help free up cap space to their growing roster, the Lakers have waived point guard Kendall Marshall, according to league sources familiar with the situation.

The Lakers have nine players under contract, including Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Robert Sacre, Jeremy Lin, Jordan Hill, Nick Young, Ed Davis and Carlos Boozer, whom was claimed off waivers for about $3 million after the Lakers waived him through the amnesty provision. Marshall was slated to make $915,000 this season, but his position frees up a cap hold that allows the Lakers to absorb the other contracts.

The Lakers will place Marshall on waivers, but they have interest in re-signing him should he go unclaimed. Marshall also had interest in staying with the Lakers, who selected him out of the Development League last season amid a rash of injuries to Steve Nash (back), Steve Blake (right elbow) and Jordan Farmar (left hamstring). Marshall averaged eight points and 8.8 assists in 54 games, though he faced inconsistency on defense and shooting.

Marshall also averaged 8.3 points three assists through four games on the Lakers’ Las Vegas Summer League team. The Lakers currently have three point guards in Lin, Nash and Jordan Clarkson, who has a non-guaranteed deal.

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Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter. E-mail him at mark.medina@langnews.com

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Will Lakers name Byron Scott the head coach?

Byron Scott has interviewed with the Lakers three times, but the search remains ongoing. AP Photo/Tony Dejak

Byron Scott has interviewed with the Lakers three times, but the search remains ongoing. AP Photo/Tony Dejak

My colleague Daily News columnist Vinny Bonsignore wonders and explains the hold up surrounding the Lakers not hiring Byron Scott as head coach despite already having three interviews with him.

The Lakers planned to hold off on hiring a coach until knowing how they would fill out a roster so they could match the proper candidate with the proper personnel. That is why Scott’s interview on Wednesday with the Lakers mostly entailed going over the roster. But he left the interview without receiving a job offer.

At the beginning of this week, the Lakers planned to make a hire within the next two weeks, though a league source familiar with the team’s thought process said that could also happen within a couple of days. Considering the Lakers have mostly rounded out their roster, Bonsignore argues the Lakers should just hire Scott already.

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Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter. E-mail him at mark.medina@langnews.com

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