Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant drives past Minnesota Timberwolves guard Ricky Rubio during the second half of their NBA basketball game in Minneapolis

Kobe Bryant, Ricky Rubio already started Olympics trash talk


The Lakers were in Minnesota Sunday night as part of their Grammys road trip (the event that kicks them and the Clippers out of Staples Center for a couple of weeks) and that means Spanish friends and teammates Ricky Rubio and Pau Gasol were hanging out talking in the hall after the game.

Then Kobe Bryant walked past, congratulated Rubio, as Marca.com caught on tape. Then they started talking (as transcribed by Hoopshype).

Kobe to Rubio and Gasol: “You talking about London?”
Gasol: “Oh yeah.”
Rubio: “You’re gonna be there?”
Kobe: “Yeah.”
Rubio: “You know you’re getting the silver medal. You know that.”
Kobe: “[expletive]. I’m taking bets! [laughs] If I win I get the keys of Barcelona.”
Rubio: “I bet what you want.”
Kobe: “I take it!”

Bring it on.

Kobe and Team USA beat Spain in the gold medal game four years ago in Beijing (118-107), with Kobe taking over late. These two teams are favored to meet again (anything else might be a disappointment) but Spain will have what should be a better team with a more mature Rubio and Marc Gasol, plus they have added Serge Ibaka.

And Spain has a little swagger after winning EuroBasket last summer. This is going to be fun.

PBT Extra: How did Thunder, Pacers move up in PBT Power Rankings?

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As they do every Monday during the season, the PBT Power Rankings came out and while the top three remained the same there were some climbers.

Specifically, the Thunder at No. 4 and the Pacers at No. 5.

Why they are there is the latest PBT Extra topic with Jenna Corrado. The simple answer is they are both excellent teams. Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, and Paul George are all playing like Top 10 players.

PBT Podcast: We’re back talking Kobe, 76ers, Warriors, Pistons, more

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The ProBasketballTalk NBA podcast is back.

Sure we’re a month into the season, but we’re going to get this podcast rolling again and you can expect us on each Monday and Thursday, with a variety of guests talking everything around the NBA.

Today NBC’s own Dan Feldman joins Kurt Helin to talk Kobe Bryant‘s retirement announcement, and what that means both for the Lakers going forward this season and beyond, but also what that could mean for Byron Scott’s future as the Lakers’ coach.

We also delve into the “showdown” between the Lakers and Sixers on Thursday, talk about the job Brett Brown is doing there as coach (a good one), we talk some Warriors, some Draymond Green, Pistons, Spurs and Pacers to round it all out.

Listen to the podcast below or you can listen and subscribe via iTunes.


Sacramento’s DeMarcus Cousins probable to play against Dallas Monday

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It’s this simple: The Sacramento Kings are 5-5 when DeMarcus Cousins plays this season, 1-7 when he sits. (And that win number is a big misleading, they looked like they would have beaten Charlotte with him, but when he left with back pain they lost, they could easily be 6-4 with him.)

So it’s good news that Cousins is expected to return to the Sacramento lineup Monday night. Well not good for Rick Carlisle and the Mavericks, but good for the Kings, as reported by James Ham at CSNBayArea,com.

This season Cousins is averaging 27.9 points and 11.2 rebounds a game, he has a true shooting percentage above the league average (56.3 percent for Cousins) and he has a PER of 27.1 which is sixth best in the league.

Combine him with the numbers Rajon Rondo has put up lately the Kings become much more dangerous. They’d be even scarier if everyone stayed healthy and George Karl would settle on a lineup.

PBT Extra: Kobe Bryant understands now is time to walk away

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It was expected Kobe Bryant would retire at the end of this season.

It was not expected Kobe would make that official on Nov. 29 — it’s caught the media at Staples Center Sunday (of which I was one) and the fans by surprise.

In this PBT Extra, I talk with Jenna Corrado about the mood inside Staples Center Sunday.

More importantly, I discuss the sense I got that Kobe understands it’s time to walk away, and he is at peace with that.