Kobe Bryant has returned from Germany, after embarking on a journey there five days ago to undergo another round of Orthokine treatment to his knee.
It was a maintenance procedure following something similar he underwent twice in 2011, and whether or not he personally informed Mike D’Antoni of his trip has essentially nothing to do with Bryant’s timetable for returning to action.
Bryant joined his teammates on the bench in Ontario, CA for the Lakers’ preseason game against the Nuggets, and while he didn’t speak to reporters, he did appear briefly for an interview on the Time Warner Cable telecast.
From Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times:
“He said it went great, feels good,” Coach Mike D’Antoni said Tuesday, the Lakers and Bryant declining to provide anything additional.
Bryant was at the team’s exhibition game against Denver in Ontario but did not talk to reporters beforehand.
Two hours before tipoff, he got off the team bus with a small box of cupcakes in his hand as a Lakers security official handed him his sunglasses. Bryant sat on the bench during the game while wearing his Lakers warm-ups. It was as close as he got to playing exactly three weeks before the season opener.
Bryant told Mike Trudell during the broadcast, “I feel very fortunate to be at this stage. I feel like I’m ahead of schedule.”
This is all in line with what we already know about Bryant’s situation — he may be ahead of schedule, but there’s no formal timetable for his return, and there certainly isn’t one publicly that will be infinitely scrutinized as his highly-anticipated return becomes closer to being realized.
The report that Kevin Durant told Russell Westbrook he’d re-sign with the Thunder before choosing the Warriors?
Royce Young of ESPN:
I misspoke in saying that Durant specifically told Westbrook he was coming back.
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Center Anderson Varejao will miss the Olympics for host Brazil because of a herniated disc in his lower back.
The Golden State Warriors announced the injury Wednesday and say that Varejao should be ready for the start of training camp but will not be healthy enough to play in the Olympics. Varejao recently experienced back pain while training with the Brazilian National Team and returned to California to be examined by Dr. Robert Watkins earlier this week.
Varejao averaged 2.6 points and 2.3 rebounds in 22 games after signing with the Warriors on Feb. 22. He re-signed with the team earlier this month.
PHOENIX (AP) — Phoenix Suns coach Earl Watson completed his staff Wednesday, naming Jay Triano associate head coach and Tyrone Corbin and Nate Bjorkgren assistant coaches.
Triano spent the last four seasons as assistant coach with the Portland Trail Blazers, including Watson’s final season as a player in 2013-14. The first Canadian-born head coach in NBA history when he directed Toronto, he also is the coach of Canada’s national team.
Corbin was Sacramento’s interim head coach for 28 games in 2014-15. He played the Suns in 1987-89.
Bjorkgren remains with the Suns after spending last season as assistant coach/player development coordinator. He also was head coach of the Suns’ NBA Summer League team the past two years.
The Suns also named Marlon Garnett assistant coach/player development coordinator, and Scott Duncan and Jason Fraser player development coaches.
The Los Angeles Clippers still have Paul Pierce under contract. Not many minutes for him, but he has a roster spot.
Pierce probably wants come back but is thinking it all over, according to Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times.
Pierce has been debating this with himself for a while now.
Pierce saw a dramatic drop off in production and how much he was used last season by Rivers. Pierce averaged a career-low 6.1 points per game on an also career low 48.9 true shooting percentage. His PER of 8.2 was also a career low. You get the idea. By the end of the season Pierce was mostly an afterthought for Doc Rivers (although he did start one game after Blake Griffin was out and the Clippers’ playoff dreams were toast).
Pierce would be more mentor than a key player on the court, but he would be on probably the third best team in the West, a team that capable of making a deep playoff run. Does he want to do that for one more season? You know Doc would welcome him.