Lakers’ Kobe Bryant dismissed interest in playing overseas post retirement had he been healthy

The Los Angeles Laker Kobe Bryant ,24, takes a shot  past Boston Celtic Evan Turner,11, and Kelly Olynyk ,41, past  during the 3rd quarter at the Staples Center.  Lakers lost 100-107.   Los Angeles Calif., Sunday, April ,3, 2016.           (Photo by Stephen Carr / Daily Breeze)

The Los Angeles Laker Kobe Bryant ,24, takes a shot past Boston Celtic Evan Turner,11, and Kelly Olynyk ,41, past during the 3rd quarter at the Staples Center. Lakers lost 100-107. Los Angeles Calif., Sunday, April ,3, 2016. (Photo by Stephen Carr / Daily Breeze)

The question initially sounded stupid to Kobe Bryant before it was even asked.

The Lakers’ star had long established he would retire following the 2015-16 season. He also ruled out playing overseas a month later. Hence, Bryant rolled his eyes at the reports he had rejected an offer to play for the FC Barcelona of the Euro League because of his physical limitations.

“You know I’m not playing,” Bryant said. “I’m done.”

What if Bryant had not felt constant strain, however, in his right shoulder, knees, back and basically every single body part? Had he hoped to fulfill his basketball fix by stepping on the hardwood somewhere else around the world?

“If I was healthy and wanted to play, I’d still be playing for the Lakers,” Bryant said following the Lakers’ loss to Boston on Sunday at Staples Center. “The health thing I can always figure it out. That’s not a big deal. My body is sore. I can always commit toward figuring it out, be healthy and play. I just don’t want to play anymore. That’s all.”
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Lakers’ Byron Scott on Nick Young: “He’s not here with us mentally”

Nick Young talks. D'Angelo Russell and Nick Young held press conferences before the game. Russell shot a video on his phone of Young talking about cheating on his Fiance Iggy Azelia. The Los Angeles Lakers played the Miami Heat at Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA.  March 30, 2016.  (Photo by John McCoy/Los Angeles News Group)

Lakers guard Nick Young is “not here with us mentally,” Lakers coach Byron Scott since video surfaced that showed Young admitting he has cheated on his fiance, Iggy Azalea. The Los Angeles Lakers played the Miami Heat at Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA. March 30, 2016. (Photo by John McCoy/Los Angeles News Group)

The phrase “basketball reasons” might bring a whole new meaning to the Lakers other than the infamous nixed Chris Paul deal.

It could also explain why Lakers coach Byron Scott placed Nick Young on the inactive roster in Sunday’s loss against Boston.

“It has nothing to do with the chemistry,” Scott said on Monday the Lakers’ practice facility in El Segundo. “It has everything to do with just basketball.”

Scott said he has not decided if the same thing will happen when the Lakers (16-60) play the Clippers (48-28) in a designated road game on Tuesday at Staples Center. Yet, Scott stressed Young’s absence on the bench on Sunday had nothing to do with avoiding any problems with rookie point guard D’Angelo Russell. He secretly recorded a video that was inadvertently posted showing Young admitting he has cheated on his fiance, Iggy Azalea.

Instead, Scott believed Young is “not here with us mentally.” It has not helped Young already has averaged 7.3 points on a career-low 33.9 percent clip.

“It was strictly a basketball decision,” Scott said. “It was all based on because I know how he’s feeling right now. He’s not really here with us.”
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Lakers’ Kobe Bryant considers 2010 NBA title most important

The Lakers’ Kobe Bryant dunks during the second quarter Sunday, April 3, 2016, against the Bosto becomes even more serious in last game vs. Celticsn Celtics at Staples Center. The Celtics beat the Lakers 107-100. (Photo by Stephen Carr/Daily Breeze)

The Lakers’ Kobe Bryant dunks during the second quarter Sunday, April 3, 2016, against the Boston Celtics at Staples Center. The Celtics beat the Lakers 107-100. (Photo by Stephen Carr/Daily Breeze)

The resume already became worthy enough for the Hall of Fame. Kobe Bryant already collected four NBA championships. He already addressed questions on whether he could win an NBA title without Shaquille O’Neal, or if Bryant could ever become an effective leader. Bryant already became one of the game’s top scorers.

Yet, Bryant considered his 2010 NBA championship as the most important one. It cast himself deeper into Lakers lore with a victory over the Celtics. The title also eradicated Bryant’s loss to the Boston Celtics in the 2008 NBA Finals, highlighted by a 39-point loss in Game 6.

Hence, Bryant considered it “non-negotiable” for his extensive NBA career to become partly blemished with green.

“There was no way we could go down in history as being remembered as being the team that lost twice to the Celtics,” Bryant said. “With all the history that has gone on, there is no way. Above winning the fifth championship, it was more like not disappointing the memory of this organization and the rivalry that has been here for decades. That was more important. You can’t lose twice to these guys. I don’t care how many Hall of Famers they have. It just can’t happen. There’s no excuse. So as a team, I completely understood that and our team completely understood that. It was by any means necessary. We were going to win this damn series. I don’t care what we have to do. We were going to have to figure out a way to get it done.”

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Lakers’ D’Angelo Russell says he’s giving Nick Young space in hopes to defuse tension

D'Angelo Russell talks about how he shot a video on his phone of Young talking about cheating on his Fiance Iggy Azelia. The Los Angeles Lakers played the Miami Heat at Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA.  March 30, 2016.  (Photo by John McCoy/Los Angeles News Group)

D’Angelo Russell talks about how he shot a video on his phone of Young talking about cheating on his fiance, Iggy Azalea. The Los Angeles Lakers played the Miami Heat at Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA. March 30, 2016. (Photo by John McCoy/Los Angeles News Group)

The competitive juices usually spill out in a Lakers practice during a closely contested scrimmage. Or when the results hinge on one last play. Or when the play becomes physical.

The Lakers’ practice on Friday became what Lakers coach Byron Scott called a “nice spirited” session for different reasons. Tension has brewed this week between D’Angelo Russell and Nick Young over a secretly recorded and accidentally published video that made private tales of infidelities suddenly public. Those hostile feelings spilled out on the court.

“They were on opposite teams so everybody was going after each other,” Scott said. “That’s good. We want that in practice anyway, that competitive nature.”

The Lakers said no fights have broken out, at least not yet. Should Young unleash his frustrations on Russell with a fist or a shove, however, the Lakers’ rookie point guard contended, “I’d get physical back.

“I wouldn’t necessarily say things got to that point or it’s there yet,” Russell said. “But if it does, you’ve got to deal with the consequences.”

Russell has already dealt with plenty of consequences after secretly recording a video that showed Young admitting he saw another woman besides his fiancee, Iggy Azalea. Although the Lakers have not disciplined him internally, Russell apologized to his teammates prior to Wednesday’s win over Miami at Staples Center. Numerous former NBA players turned analysts, including Shaquille O’Neal, Tim Legler, Antonio Davis, Stephen Jackson and Olden Polynice, have all criticized Russell for making details of Young’s private life public even if it was unintentional. Polynice even added he would have punched Russell had that happened to him. Young has kept a distance from Russell and has not become open toward any efforts Russell has made to apologize.

“I’m getting over it, but if the person that it hurt the most gets over it, then I feel it’s done,” Russell said. “But until he really lets it simmer down then I think it will still be an issue.”
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Lakers’ Julius Randle fined $15,000 for “obscene gesture”

The elation swept over Julius Randle as he hit his first-game winning shot of his career. The left-handed hook shot gave the Lakers both a 102-100 overtime victory over Miami on Wednesday and temporary relief in a contentious locker room.

So, Randle extended that feel-good moment into breaking out his inner Sam Cassell and pretended to hold out grapefruit-sized balls. Most of the Lakers found the celebration funny. The NBA found the celebration an “obscene gesture” and issued Randle a $15,000 fine for it.

“It’s a big win, having fun. It’s not that big of a deal,” Randle said. “Let the joke be on me.”

The NBA has routinely issued fines to players that celebrate in such fashion to keep celebrations in what they consider good taste. So when the Lakers’ second-year forward was asked on Wednesday if he still found it worth it to break out an entertaining gesture at the expense of a reduced paycheck, Randle looked up and smiled before offering a no comment.

“He’ll be all right,” Lakers guard D’Angelo Russell said. “He can handle that.”

RELATED:

Kobe Bryant calls it a ‘miracle’ Lamar Odom recovered well enough to watch Lakers game

Lakers’ Nick Young not present when D’Angelo Russell apologized to team

Julius Randle shows confidence in game winner over Miami

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

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Julius Randle shows confidence in game winner over Miami

Los Angeles Lakers forward Julius Randle #30 celebrates the winning shot in OT. The Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Miami Heat 102-100 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA.  March 30, 2016.  (Photo by John McCoy/Los Angeles News Group)

Los Angeles Lakers forward Julius Randle #30 celebrates the winning shot in OT. The Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Miami Heat 102-100 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA. March 30, 2016. (Photo by John McCoy/Los Angeles News Group)

The tension level rose as the clock ticked away.

Would Lakers Kobe Bryant take over? No, he remained sidelined wrapped in heat pads all over his body after struggling to move all night.

Would Lakers coach Byron Scott call a timeout? No, he wanted his young players to figure things out for themselves.

Would Lakers rookie point guard D’Angelo Russell deliver a drama-filled moment for all the right reasons after providing a different sort of drama for the wrong reasons? No, Julius Randle refused to give Russell or anyone else the ball.

It was not out of malice amid Russell’s secretly recorded video of Nick Young admitting to infidelities going public. It was not out of selfishness amid the Lakers season-long struggles with what the called “trust issues.” It was out of confidence that Randle would make the play the Lakers needed.

“They knew I wasn’t giving it up,” Randle said, grinning. “So they cleared out.”

Then, Randle dribbled the ball, patiently waited along the block and then performed a nifty spin move. Randle then sank a left-hook shot with 1.9 seconds remaining that gave the Lakers a 102-100 overtime victory over the Miami Heat on Wednesday at Staples Center.

“It’s a big confidence booster for him to deliver in those situations,” Bryant said. “He attacked it with great confidence.”

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Lakers’ D’Angelo Russell apologizes to team, though Nick Young wasn’t present

Nick Young Jordan Clarkson and D'Angelo Russell sit on the bench in the first half. The Los Angeles Lakers played the Miami Heat at Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA.  March 30, 2016.  (Photo by John McCoy/Los Angeles News Group)

Nick Young Jordan Clarkson and D’Angelo Russell sit on the bench in the first half. The Los Angeles Lakers played the Miami Heat at Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA. March 30, 2016. (Photo by John McCoy/Los Angeles News Group)

The Lakers gathered around for a talk, and the topic veered away from the discussion that usually involves basketball.

So this time, the main speech did not involve Lakers coach Byron Scott stressing about the need to compete. It did not involve Lakers guard Kobe Bryant suggesting the same thing.

Instead, Lakers rookie point guard D’Angelo Russell expressed his regret over secretly recording a video that went public of teammate Nick Young admitting infidelities while being engaged to rapper Iggay Azalea. As Lakers guard Jordan Clarkson recalled, Russell “looked at us like men” and showed remorse for his behavior before the Lakers’ 102-100 overtime win over the Miami Heat on Wednesday at Staples Center.

“Everybody accepted his apology,” Clarkson said. “He has to handle it from where it’s at right now. He has to stop worrying about everything. He just has to perform on the court.”

It appears Russell has to do more though than just overcome a 16-point effort on only 6-of-19 shooting against Miami with a key defensive stop on Dwyane Wade to force overtime and a clutch 3-pointer in extra regulation. Various sources have said Russell and Young have addressed the incident since the video went public last Thursday. Russell said in a pre-game press conference that he “reached out to” Young and “let him know my apologies.”

But a source close to Young has remained adamant that Russell has not apologized directly to Young. By Young’s own choosing, the source added Young was not present when Russell addressed the team before the game on Wednesday.

“I don’t know if they were accepted,” Russell said of his apology. “If not, I wouldn’t blame him.”

As of now, Young has not accepted any apology. Young also declined to field questions from reporters before the game and only offered a statement that lasted for about a minute.

“I don’t want to get into my personal life right now,” Young said. “I think it’s best me and D’Angelo handle the situation we have in a private manner outside of the media. I think it’s something we do need to sit down and talk about. That’s about it. What happened is what happened. We have to work on it.”
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Kobe Bryant calls it a “miracle” Lamar Odom recovered well enough to watch Lakers game

Lamar Odom and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar have some pleasant words before the game. The Los Angeles Lakers played the Miami Heat at Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA.  March 30, 2016.  (Photo by John McCoy/Los Angeles News Group)

Lamar Odom and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar have some pleasant words before the game. The Los Angeles Lakers played the Miami Heat at Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA. March 30, 2016. (Photo by John McCoy/Los Angeles News Group)

The visit seemingly lasted forever as former Lakers and Clippers forward Lamar Odom visited Kobe Bryant in the trainer’s room following the Lakers’ 92-90 victory over the Miami Heat on Wednesday at Staples Center. That visit marked a stark contrast to the visit Bryant made in mid October at a Las Vegas hospital after his former teammate had strokes and kidney issues.

“It’s a miracle, honestly,” Bryant said. “In Vegas, [he was on death’s door]. To see him walking around now as if nothing even happened, it’s really a miracle. It’s beyond good to see him.”

Bryant invited Odom to attend the game in what marked his first appearance at Staples Center since he was hospitalized five months ago for falling unconscious at a Nevada brothel. In the first half, Odom hugged Lakers president Jeanie Buss. Odom, who won two NBA titles as a key Lakers reserve from 2004 to 2011, also sparked cheers when the Staples Center scoreboard featured him.

“It was cool. It was awesome,” Odom said afterwards as he walked along a Staples Center hallway. “I got goosebumps.”

So did Bryant, who won two NBA titles with Odom when he played on the Lakers from 2004 to 2011.

“It was like old times,” Bryant said. “It was great to talk basketball with them and talk trash. It was good and unbelievable.”

So did Miami guard Dwyane Wade, who became close with Odom when they played together during the 2003-04 season.

“Made losing this game not matter “as much” after getting a chance to spend time with my guy LO,” Wade tweeted. “#GodisGood”

When Odom was initially hospitalized, few expected that he would overcome such a tumultuous episode. But within a week he started physical therapy and was transferred to a Los Angeles hospital. In January, Odom then was transferred to a private facility.

“He’s a part of the family,” Lakers coach Byron Scott said. “It is absolutely fantastic to see where he is now to what the stories we were getting a few months ago. His recovery has been a miracle. We just wish to continue wishing him nothing but the best.”

Bryant hoped Odom’s presence would accomplish two things.

Bryant believed it could provide perspective to his teammates as they dealt with the fallout surrounding Lakers rookie point guard D’Angelo Russell secretly recording a published video that showed teammate Nick Young admitting to infidelities.

“The Lamar situation was a great representation of that and what he was facing,” Bryant said. “There was no hope and to see him move today was beyond anything I could’ve imagined. To think it was just like yesterday that he was out here winning championships. It’s amazing how fast things go.”

Bryant also expressed optimism the experience would aid Odom’s return to normalcy.

“This is home for him. It’s been this way for many, many years,” Bryant said. “It’s just the feeling of being home and being loved, because we all love him and that’s never going to change. L.A. loves him. We all appreciate the championships that he brought here. Without him, there’s no way that we win any of those titles.”

RELATED:

D’Angelo Russell knows he has to work hard to regain Lakers’ trust

D’Angelo Russell, Nick Young have talked privately, but friendship still up in air

Lakers overcome drama to secure 102-100 overtime win over Heat

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

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D’Angelo Russell: “I feel sick as possible” over video incident with Nick Young

Lakers guard D'Angelo Russell said he feels awful about secretly recording Nick Young. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Lakers guard D’Angelo Russell said he feels awful about secretly recording Nick Young. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

The deflated feeling wore on D’Angelo Russell’s face. This time the frustration had little to do with another Lakers loss or his fluctuating role.

It had everything to do with the remorse Russel said he felt over a secretly recorded video recently going public that showed teammate Nick Young admitting seeing another woman other than his fiance, Iggy Azalea.

“I feel sick as possible,” Russell said before the Lakers hosted the Miami Heat on Wednesday at Staples Center. “I wish I could make things better right away. But I can’t.”

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Lakers’ D’Angelo Russell, Nick Young address video incident privately

Lakers head coach Byron Scott, left, called the video incident between D'Angelo Russell, right, and Nick Young an internal manner.(Photo by John McCoy/Staff)

Lakers head coach Byron Scott, left, called the video incident between D’Angelo Russell, right, and Nick Young an internal manner.(Photo by John McCoy/Staff)

At a very methodical pace, Lakers rookie point guard D’Angelo Russell moved around the practice court on Wednesday and took shots in what marked an extended post-shootaround workout.

Russell moved at a quicker speed when he walked past reporters without missing a step. A large media contingent arrived at the Lakers’ practice facility at El Segundo hoping to ask Russell to address a secretly taped and since publicized video that entailed teammate Nick Young sharing he had a relationship with a woman other than his fiance, Iggy Azalea.

“Nothing to talk about,” Russell said as he went toward the Lakers’ trainer’s room. Later, Russell exited the Lakers’ practice facility with three security guards escorting him to his car as he walked to the parking lot.

The Lakers said that Russell and Young will address the media before Wednesday’s game against the Miami Heat at Staples Center. Russell and Young have had private discussions regarding the incident, according to team sources familiar with the situation. That dialogue will likely continue, but skepticism persists on whether their friendship can be salvaged.

Young has missed the past 10 games, including the last two for what the Lakers attributed to a stomach bug. But Lakers coach Byron Scott said Young will be available to play on Wednesday against Miami.

Scott called the situation an “internal manner” and declined to address specifics.

“The only thing I’m disappointed about is it got out,” Scott said. “We’re a family and we try to keep everything in house. That’s the only thing I’m disappointed.”
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