Los Angeles Lakers' Bryant and Blake celebrate beating Denver Nuggets at their NBA Western Conference playoff in Los Angeles

Kobe Bryant ‘not cool’ with Lakers trading Steve Blake


If the Lakers were going to make a run to the playoffs once Kobe Bryant returns from injury, Steve Blake would have played a key role. A quality outside shooter who competes defensively, Blake added to that roster.

Of course, the Lakers were never going to make the playoffs this season.

That’s why they traded Blake to the Warriors for salary relief and younger players. Smart general managers identify their position, even if it’s dismal, and react to it.

But Kobe Bryant isn’t a general manager. He’s a player who sees things differently, who views moves through the eyes of a competitor who never gives up.

This can be read a number of ways, and “Kobe’s mad” has been a popular interpretation. I don’t see it that way, though. I think this is just his way of expressing his respect for Blake.

The Lakers gave Kobe a generous extension, and while that doesn’t obligate him to agree with every move they make, I sense he’s willing to go along with the plan. The Lakers are doing this for Kobe. They’re better-positioning themselves to contend in the next two seasons.

Kobe will miss Blake, as he should. But the Lakers are better off, and I suspect Kobe knows that too – even if his 140-character goodbyes carry a conflictive tone.

Hezonja throws down one-handed dunk in preseason debut

Orlando Magic Introduce 2015 NBA Draft Picks
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Mario Hezonja, the No. 5 pick in this year’s draft, has never lacked for confidence. The Croatian guard made his pro debut in the Magic’s preseason game against the Hornets on Saturday and did this:

Between Hezonja, Elfrid Payton, Victor Oladipo and Aaron Gordon, the Magic have a nucleus of young players that has the potential to be a lot of fun. Even if they’re still a few years away from contending, they’re definitely going to be a League Pass favorite this year.

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist suffers dislocated shoulder in preseason game

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Solomon Hill
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Preseason is only just getting underway and there’s already a potentially serious injury to report. In the game between the Hornets and Magic on Saturday night, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was taken to the locker room after suffering a right shoulder injury. The Hornets announced that he was then taken to an Orlando-area hospital for follow-up x-rays:

A few hours after the game, the Hornets announced that Kidd-Gilchrist has a dislocated shoulder:

Depending on the severity of the injury, he could miss a few weeks or a few months. Hopefully, it’s the shorter end of that timeline. We should know more on Sunday.