Carmelo Anthony says Kobe Bryant didn’t prevent him from signing with the Lakers


This week, much has been made of an ESPN story suggesting that Kobe Bryant’s personality has kept big-name free agents from signing with the Lakers in recent years. One of the most high-profile free-agent stars the Lakers have chased in recent years was Carmelo Anthony, who took offers from the Lakers, Chicago Bulls, Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks before ultimately re-signing with the Knicks for $124 million over five years.

However, Anthony told reporters on Sunday that his decision not to sign with the Lakers had nothing to do with Kobe. From ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne and Ohm Youngmisuk:

“Hell no. Of course not,” Anthony said. “If I thought that [playing for the Lakers] was the right situation for me from an overall perspective as far as having a team there, then I would have looked at that situation more in-depth. I just felt more comfortable staying here in New York. But as far as playing with him … I’m here now but I would always love to play with Kobe.”

Indeed, it’s hard to pin Anthony’s decision on Bryant. Signing with the Lakers never really made sense for him, and all along it seemed like he let them make their pitch more as a courtesy than out of any serious intention of going there. The two most viable contenders in the Melo sweepstakes both offered something the Lakers couldn’t. The Bulls had the best roster and the clearest path to immediate contention for a championship out of any of the teams vying for his services. The Knicks could offer him more money than anyone else, as well as a fifth year on his contract and long-term security for his family. The Lakers, coming off a disappointing year and figuring to be a lottery team again this season, could offer neither. Melo chose the money, and it’s hard to blame him for it.

Melo and Kobe have played together before. They won two gold medals together with Team USA, in the 2008 and 2012 Summer Olympics. There’s nothing to suggest they couldn’t have played together — the Lakers just didn’t offer the best fit of the options he had available.

67RIEFNS No. 39: Byron Scott defying convention


The NBA is full of talent, personality and suspense. During the offseason, It’s easy to forget how wonderful the league can be. So, I’ve assembled 67 Reasons I’m Excited For Next Season (67RIEFNS). They’ll be presented in no particular order.

Byron Scott has some interesting ideas about how to coach the Lakers.

He plans to give Kobe Bryant an unprecedented amount of playing time and, in turn, expects nearly unprecedented scoring from the aging and recently injured star.

But that’s Kobe, and the Lakers don’t have many other options. Making seemingly ridiculous coaching decisions based on Kobe might just be Scott’s best option.

Scott’s philosophy on 3-pointers, though? That’s something else entirely.

The coach has said he wants the Lakers shooting 10-15 3-pointers per game, a mark unseen by any team in recent years. Other teams around the league have learned 3-pointers are often high-efficiency shots in themselves, and they also space the court to make inside looks easier.

But that’s apparently not how Scott sees it.

He – maybe following a cue from Magic Johnson, who endorsed Scott for the job – has designed an offense that doesn’t feature many 3-point attempts. In that sense, it’s working so far.

Last season, an NBA team made no 3-pointers in a game only once (Grizzlies). The Lakers did it twice in just eight preseason games, and they had another exhibition with only one 3-pointer.

It’s not a lack of accuracy – though it’s partially that – as much as a lack of trying.

In one of those games, the Lakers shot 0-for-3 from beyond the arc. It’s been a couple years since any team attempted so few 3s in a regular-season game (Jazz in 2012).

All in all, the Lakers averaged 10.3 3-point attempts per game and made 30.4 percent of them during the preseason. No team in the last seven years has shot so few 3s per game, and only the 2011-12 Bobcats – who had the worst record in NBA history, 7-59 – shot a lower 3-point percentage in the last 11 years.

The accuracy should improve. Teams generally shoot better as the season progresses, and the Lakers have a few decent outside shooters.

And I expect the attempts per game to rise, too – at least a little. I think/hope Scott was just making a point during the preseason about the importance of getting to the rim, and that is important. In their last preseason game, they attempted 15 3-pointers. That could reasonably be seen as Scott gearing up for his real strategy when it counts.

Still, Scott continues preaching a style unlike anything anyone runs anymore. There’s something to be said about going against the grain, getting quality shots inside while everyone is focused too much on 3-pointers. Maybe this will work out for him and the Lakers

I really don’t think it will, but we’ll get an innovative (by being old-fashioned) offense or a spectacular display of stubbornness. I’m cool with either.

HBO releases trailer for new Kevin Durant documentary “The Off Season”

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Kobe Bryant has a documentary coming out. So does Kevin Durant, his appears in just more than a week on HBO.

Above is the first trailer for it (hat tip That NBA Lottery Pick). Although it feels like the foot injury that will have him out the first quarter of the season or so takes the luster off this.

I know Durant puts in a lot of time in the off-season, you don’t get to be the MVP and one of the best players in the game without both genetic gifts and a great work ethic. Durant really is a fairly humble guy, and a guy who finds the stuff going on around basketball a distraction and doesn’t want those complexities getting in the way of just playing.

But do we really need a string of “wow, look how great this guy is” documentaries on NBA players? Ones scrubbed clean of anything interesting/real by PR machines concerned about “the brand?” Why do we want to watch these?

Personally I’d recommend Last Week Tonight with John Oliver if you’re going to watch something on HBO.

Report: Kobe Bryant viewed Dwight Howard leaving Lakers in free agency as ‘a positive’


Much has been written about the poor relationship that existed between Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard during their ill-fated season together in Los Angeles.

To sum it up as succinctly and politely as possible, Bryant is ruthlessly competitive, whereas Howard prefers to take a much lighter approach.

The reality is that from a personality standpoint, Howard simply didn’t fit in with a Lakers organization that values championship contention above all else. That’s probably why Bryant sabotaged the free agent pitch meeting with Howard the team had in the summer of 2013, and even though technically L.A. would have had an All-Star talent to be the face of the team once Bryant was gone, Howard simply isn’t cut out to take on that level of responsibility.

It’s not surprising, then, that Bryant views the Lakers’ failure to retain Howard in free agency as a good thing for the franchise.

From Ken Berger of

Only weeks before his comeback from the Achilles injury ended so abruptly, Bryant signed a two-year, $48.5 million contract that will pay him $25 million next season at age 37. While the arrangement virtually assured that Bryant will retire as a Laker, it also hindered the team’s quest for a free-agent star around whom it could forge a new path once he’s gone. Though Bryant viewed Dwight Howard’s free-agent departure in 2013 as “a positive,” according to a person close to him, the Lakers barely got this past summer’s prime free agents, James and Anthony, to give the franchise a passing thought. Why is that?

This comes from an excellent longform feature on Bryant that is much more balanced than what we’ve seen from other national outlets recently, and is well worth your time.

As to why free agents have passed on L.A. as a destination, it has little to do with Bryant’s contract. Remember, L.A. was the only team that had max money available to sign Carmelo Anthony last summer without needing to make roster moves first.

The fact that Bryant has had two major injuries that limited him to appearing in just six games last season, along with the depleted state of the rest of the Lakers roster are more concrete reasons that free agents would want to play somewhere else. The Lakers, even with another All-Star in place would still be so far from their stated goal of title contention that those looking for a new team can find one much more ready to win now, and can do so fairly easily.

As for Howard, this recent description (from a feature by Michael Lee of the Washington Post) tells us all we need to know about why he and Bryant clashed so strongly.

Before he ripped the bags of ice from his knees, reached for his green, turtle-shell shaped Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle backpack and walked out of a lounge inside the bowels of Toyota Center in his Mickey Mouse T-shirt, Dwight Howard burst into an old Gospel hymn.

It’s clear that Bryant wasn’t at all interested in seeing the Lakers sign on for five more years of that nonsense.

Kings’ Ray McCallum sinks put-back at the buzzer to beat Lakers

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The Lakers and Kings ended the preseason with a thriller in Las Vegas on Friday, one that ended with some heroics at the buzzer.

Ray McCallum misses the jumper, and once Reggie Evans sneaks in for the rebound, he sprints toward the basket to be in the right place at the right time to get the game-winning put-back to go.

Kobe Bryant sat this one out, but L.A. got nice performances from Ed Davis (15 points, 13 rebounds in 30 minutes) and rookie Julius Randle (12 and nine off the bench). On the Sacramento side, DeMarcus Cousins shredded the Lakers for 21 points and 10 rebounds in just 26 minutes of action.