Report: Kobe Bryant out another two weeks to month with knee fracture

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We know him, if it was just a matter of playing through pain, Kobe Bryant would be back. But it’s not. He has a fractured lateral tibial plateau — the bone at the top of the shin that connects to the knee — and until the bone heals properly Kobe can’t return.

Which means he will be out at least another two weeks, maybe even a month, reports Kevin Ding of Bleacher Report. Kobe’s formal review with a team doctor is scheduled for Tuesday.

Bryant’s level of discomfort is such that his visit with Lakers doctor Steve Lombardo on Tuesday evening before the Lakers face the Indiana Pacers will not even include an MRI or any other diagnostic procedure to judge the bone’s healing, according to a team source. Bryant is expected to miss at least two more weeks, perhaps even another month.

First off, this could take care of Kobe’s “I don’t want to play in the All-Star Game” issue. If he misses two more weeks exactly that would leave two games for the Lakers before the All-Star Weekend. It is very possible he is not healthy enough to return before the game, and if that is the case the league would announce an ijury replacement for him (then the coach would choose who would replace him as a starter, Scott Brooks of OKC likely chooses James Harden, Terry Stots of Portland might well go with LaMarcus Aldridge, both those players are virtual locks to be chosen as reserves by the coaches).

For the Lakers, it would likely mean more losing (which some of their fan base would love as that group wants the team in full tank mode). The Lakers are 4-16 without Bryant in the lineup but they do have help on the way soon — Steve Blake and Jordan Farmar are out Tuesday and Friday for the Lakers but practiced Monday and could return in the next week, plus Steve Nash hopes to practice with the team Thursday.

Still, you know being out this long and just riding a bike does not sit well with Bryant — if you have dreams of him sitting out the rest of the season and the team tanking, you know he’s not on board.

Bryant said Sunday in New York that it is “absolutely killing” him not to be medically cleared for anything beyond conditioning work on a bike. He has been reluctant to answer questions directly about his knee in a series of interview sessions over the past week, saying vaguely he’ll be re-evaluated “in February.” But what he and his fans hoped would be an inspirational comeback season from the torn left Achilles tendon he suffered April 12 has eroded into a whole lot of Bryant sitting around, wincing at the end of the bench at Lakers losses and wearing colorless clothes that represent his basketball lifelessness.

Salah Mejri kicks at Patty Mills as Mavericks and Spurs leave court for halftime (video)

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Mavericks center Salah Mejri has a history of agitating, including against the Spurs.

Two years ago, Mejri dunked while Dallas got blown out by San Antonio and yapped at the Spurs bench – drawing laughter from Gregg Popovich and Tim Duncan. Last season, Mejri had Trevor Ariza and other Rockets trying to confront him after reportedly saying something about Ariza’s family.

In the Mavericks’ win over the Spurs on Tuesday, Mejri got into it with Patty Mills.

Earl K. Sneed of Mavs.com:

Mejri and Rudy Gay received double technical fouls, and Mejri went to the bench. Everything could have cooled down at halftime, but Mejri escalated tension

Watch the full sequence above, but the key moment:

giphy (2)

That’ll probably draw a fine.

NBA introducing 2-for-1 All-Star voting days

AP Photo/Chris Carlson
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The NBA changed its All-Star format this season from East vs. West to captain-picked teams (though still naming players equally from each conference).

That apparently wasn’t a big enough overhaul.

After including media and player votes last year, the league is making All-Star starter selection even more complex.

NBA release:

NBA All-Star Voting 2018 presented by Verizon will tip off with an early voting period exclusively on the NBA App and NBA.com beginning Thursday, Dec. 21 at 1 p.m. ET.

Voting via all other channels, including Amazon Alexa for the first time, will launch on Monday, Dec. 25 at 11 a.m.

Additionally, new for this season, five “2-for-1 Days” will allow fans to have their votes count twice on Dec. 31, Jan. 4, Jan. 11, Jan. 12 and Jan. 15 when voting through the NBA App and NBA.com, along with Sina Weibo and Tencent in China.  All “2-for-1 Days” will be designated 12 a.m. – 11:59 p.m. ET.

TNT will reveal the All-Star Game starters, including the two captains, on Thursday, Jan. 18 during TNT NBA Tip-Off

The network will announce the reserves, as selected by NBA head coaches, on Tuesday, Jan. 23 during TNT NBA Tip-Off at 7 p.m. ET. 

The team rosters for NBA All-Star Game 2018 in Los Angeles will be revealed on Thursday, Jan. 25 during a special one-hour edition of TNT NBA Tip-Off at 7 p.m. ET.

I suppose this is to drum up interest on otherwise quiet voting days. After all, this is really just about the NBA selling itself.

But the All-Star voting process has always left something to be desired. I don’t see how this changes that.

Report: Lakers ‘longshot’ to sign LeBron James

AP Photo/Jae C. Hong
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Preeminent NBA reporter Adrian Wojnarowski called it “likelyLeBron James would sign with the Lakers or Clippers next summer. The Clippers have since been somewhat debunked as a LeBron destination. There’s circumstantial evidence linking LeBron to Los Angeles.

Ramona Shelburne and Brian Windhorst of ESPN:

So imagining James’ last act coming in purple and gold isn’t without basis. But as of now, it’s also a longshot, according to league sources.

Shelburne and Windhorst are highly credible. I doubt they’d report this without connected sources.

LeBron’s agent, Rich Paul, and manager, Maverick Carter, have recently publicly downplayed the importance of Los Angeles to LeBron. That felt like a coordinated attack on the LeBron-Lakers rumors, and this fits as a continuation.

But why wage that campaign? To keep the Cavaliers focused while LeBron still plays for them, even if he might leave after the season? To lower expectations among the Lakers’ massive fan base, so as not alienate those people (potential customers of the many LeBron-connected brands) when LeBron inevitably signs elsewhere? Both could be true, but there’s obviously a difference between each driving LeBron’s camp.

DeMarcus Cousins barrels in for powerful putback dunk over Bucks (video)

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When DeMarcus Cousins builds up a head of steam like this… poor John Henson (and kind of Khris Middleton).

This helped the Pelicans pull away for a 115-108 win over the Bucks last night.