Kobe Bryant

Kobe to skip Lakers preseason game with shoulder strain


It’s Kobe Bryant and an injury, so you know if this were a regular season game he would be out there on the court. He is the Black Knight from “Holy Grail” — ‘Tis just a flesh wound.

But it’s a preseason game so Kobe is going to sit out against the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday. It is not serious and he is expected to play for the Lakers on Saturday.

The best part is how Kobe injured his shoulder — dunking all over Antawn Jamison in practice (the second dunk on the video below, at the :16 second mark). According to the LA Daily News, Kobe didn’t notice it at the time and kept practicing, did ball handling drills and even dunking more. After practice when he cooled down he started to notice it.

No Kobe means more Jodie Meeks. And what person that paid for a ticket can complain about that? Nobody, that’s who.

Not a big deal, but it does speak to the challenge before Lakers coach Mike Brown to keep Kobe and Steve Nash healthy. Which means keeping their minutes down and not leaning on his stars as heavily as he did last season.

Gordon Hayward goes behind Jordan Clarkson’s back with dribble

Gordon Hayward, Nick Young
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Utah’s Gordon Hayward abused the Lakers’ Jordan Clarkson on this play.

First, Hayward reads and steals Clarkson’s poor feed into the post intended for Kobe Bryant, then going up the sideline he takes his dribble behind Clarkson’s back to keep going. It all ends in a Rudy Gobert dunk.

Three quick takeaways here:

1) Gordon Hayward is a lot better than many fans realize. He can lead this team.

2) It’s still all about the development with Clarkson, and that’s going to mean some hard lessons.

3) Hayward may have the best hair in the NBA, even if it’s going a bit Macklemore.

(Hat tip reddit)

Could Tristan Thompson’s holdout last months? Windhorst says yes.

2015 NBA Finals - Game Five

VIZZINI: “So, it is down to you. And it is down to me.”
MAN IN BLACK nods and comes nearer…
MAN IN BLACK: “Perhaps an arrangement can be reached.”
VIZZINI: “There will be no arrangement…”
MAN IN BLACK: “But if there can be no arrangement, then we are at an impasse.”

That farcical scene from The Princess Bride pretty much sums up where we are with the Tristan Thompson holdout with the Cleveland Cavaliers, minus the Iocane powder. (Although that scene was a battle of wits in the movie and this process seems to lack much wit.) The Cavaliers have put a five-year, $80 million offer on the table. Thompson wants a max deal (or at least a more than has been offered), but he also doesn’t want to play for the qualifying offer and didn’t sign it. LeBron James just wants the two sides just to get it done.

Brian Windhorst of ESPN thinks LeBron could be very disappointed.

Windhorst was on the Zach Lowe podcast at Grantland (which you should be listening to anyway) and had this to say about the Thompson holdout:

“I actually believe it will probably go months. This will go well into the regular season.”

Windhorst compared it to a similar situation back in 2007 with Anderson Varejao, which eventually only broke because the then Charlotte Bobcats signed Varejao to an offer sheet. Thompson is a restricted free agent, meaning the Cavaliers can match any offer, but only Portland and Philadelphia have the cap space right now to offer him a max contract. Neither team has shown any interest in doing so.

And so we wait. And we may be waiting a while.