Mamba Unsure About Opening Night

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EL SEGUNDO, Calif. –
Asked around 11 a.m. Saturday about his some-day return to the court, Kobe Bryant said “My goal is to play tonight.” So there was not going to be a lot of clarity.

Saturday night would have been out of the question if there had been a game, but little on the calendar after that seemed much of a certainty as the Lakers reconvened in preparation for the new season that will include Bryant. At some point.

The coach is not ruling Bryant out of at least the last of the exhibition games, Mike D’Antoni said. But D’Antoni balanced that by noting he is not counting on Bryant for any of the eight preseason contests in Southern California, Las Vegas or two in China against the Warriors.

The player is not ruling out opening night of the regular season, Bryant said. But the usual supreme confidence was tempered by the assessment that there is no way to know at this stage if Oct. 29 against the Clippers will happen. Pressed whether beginning 2013-13 on the court is realistic or overly optimistic, after it was originally feared that the torn Achilles’ ligament in the left leg suffered April 12, 2012 would keep him out closer to a year, the All-Star shooting guard said: “I don’t know. Probably a combination of both.”

There is no clear answer, in other words.

“It’s about being smart about it and pacing it the right way and just seeing how it does,” Bryant said. “It’s really just a strength thing now, just seeing how the explosiveness holds up and then how the recovery holds up after that.

“The mental aspect of it, I really don’t concern myself too much with that. I can’t do anything about it if I’m going to hurt something, so I won’t waste my time really thinking about that. But I do need to get in shape. And I will get in shape. It doesn’t take me long to do that. I really work hard at it, and when I get back out there on the court, I’ll be good to go. I don’t think I’ve ever played a season where I was 100 percent. Seventy-eight is fine.”

The uncertainty is complicated by plans to lessen the workload for Steve Nash after he averaged 30.4 minutes per game in 2012-13 while turning 39 at midseason, putting the Lakers in the difficult position of having to rely on a bench that has offered few reasons to inspire confidence. If Bryant is not back by the end of October, D’Antoni is looking at stretches with both starters off the court. And even if Bryant and Nash are both able to play, there could be limits on minutes and back-to-backs.

A Steve Blake-Nash opening lineup is a possibility, though an invitation for trouble on defense with Nash at shooting guard. The Lakers added Jordan Farmar, Nick Young and Wesley Johnson in the offseason and all will play in the backcourt, along with small forward for Young and Johnson. Jodie Meeks returns at shooting guard as well.

“I don’t think anybody knows,” D’Antoni said of what Bryant will be able to deliver. “He doesn’t know. He won’t know until he gets back on the court and we see it. It’ll be something we watch day to day. Hopefully there is no adjustment. Hopefully he’s exactly the way as when it happened. You don’t know that. But I can guarantee you he will find a way to be effective. What this is, we’ll all see.”
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34 Comments

  1. J-Short37 says:

    Kobe whenever he comes back is good for the league as a whole, the man is one of the greats of the game, I have not seen a role player as he is ” called by some” garner world wide fame on a first name basis. The mans game on the floor has earned that with the respect of his peers and players before him. RESPECT HIS GAME, and go to your own teams website….

  2. D.RoseisBack says:

    LBJKIN6JAMES Let’s talk about Miamy 3peat? No way!King Allen saved last title and that is luck!D Rose can return MVP title!
    Chicago Bulls will shine this season!

  3. uthizzle says:

    Anybody got a feeling that kobe does not come back this year..he makes his 30 mil and comes back the following year really at 100 percent..kind of a derrick rose approach ..

    • LBJKIN6JAMES says:

      By then he’ll be 36 … Kobe doesn’t have that much time, its now or never. If stays on the Lakers he’ll never get a 6th ring.. But if he joins Houston/OKC/ San Antonio then he might have the opportunity win that elusive 6th ring …

  4. Cripple Rapist says:

    First Lebron is not MIAMI Heat’s leader DWADE is… Choking skills???? You mean the way he burn the SPURS with his outside shooting???? leaving CAVS??? Ask any player who doesn’t want to play for an organization like the HEAT…. ex Cavs jamison? Old Shaq? Mo Williams??? How about the HEAT from 2010 – 2013 miller battier birdman ray allen Wade Haslem Bosh now with Beastly Oden, Does the Cavs ever try to keep their team into contending form??? It was all Lebron, I’m no LBJ fan either, DWade is the Heat’s true leader, Capt. But LBJ is the BEST player in MIAMI…. How about your laker??? What happen to your so called SuperTeam??? kobe PAU NASH MWP D12??? lakers just got lucky they made it to playoffs only to be SWEPT by Mighty SPURS… Ask Tim Duncan what in his mind that time ” Where’s that tiny WORM kobe” #NoShow

  5. Ry says:

    Everyone says hes a Ball Hog but he didnt win his titles his self LMAO u people are lames

    • LBJKIN6JAMES says:

      Ya we know he didn’t. Shaq did, he just brought Kobe along for the ride ;)

      • J-Short37 says:

        Brother I hate to tell you but even Shaq was calling Kobe the best player in the league in 2001 playoffs, both Shaq and Kobe needed each other to win. And you talk as if Kobe is just a journeyman three point shooter, the man made the All Star team and NBA 1st team at 17 years in the league. He earned those accolades also not given. Respect the mans game, if you don’t like him than that’s fine but respect game HOF players and current players do, you should to.

      • LBJKIN6JAMES says:

        that’s funny you say that…if you scroll up you will see that I said exactly that “I have respect for Kobe, he is a true warrior and competitor”

        …but…. Shaq is the most dominant big man ever to play the game of basketball. Shaq was the true the leader of that team, and that’s why he won all 3 finals MVP’s, Shaq didn’t need Kobe-Kobe needed Shaq. Shaq elevated Kobe’s status by leading the Lakers to 3 championships and getting Kobe 3 championships early in his career. Shaq is the reason that Kobe is even in the same conversation with LBJ & MJ, because without Shaq leading the Lakers to 3 straight championships then Kobe would only have 2 rings…in 17 years.
        Shaq would have won 3 or more championships if he was playing with T-mac/Allen Iverson/ Vince Carter/ (in their primes) or any other all-star. Kobe was just in the right place in the right time, and it also helps playing for the 2nd richest franchise in the NBA who can afford & attract all-stars to surround Kobe with for most of his career…
        Nobody is disrespecting Kobe, these are just facts… Kobe is one of the best of all time, but only comparable to MJ because of the rings,

  6. GO AWAY IF YOUR HATING says:

    LECHOKE IS NO LEADER. BUT A DESPERATE GUY TO WIN CHAMPIONSHIP TO MATCH UP WITH JORDAN. BUT SADLY HE CANT WIN IT IN CAVS SO HE TOOK HIS CHOKING SKILLS TO THE SOUTH BEACH.

  7. lol says:

    Mamba should retire. His lakers are gunna get pwnt they wont even make the playoffs this year

  8. Lebron may be a “joiner,” but he is still most definately a leader. He consistently puts his heart out on the court and he is now one of three players to win both MVP and Finals MVP two years in a row. The other two: Michael Jordan and Bill Russell.

  9. erwin says:

    If your Lebron is a leader. he wouldnt have left Cleveland. Admit the fact that LBJ is a JOINER and not a LEADER, he is in his prime and Kobe is not so stop comparing, you’re living in your own fairytale. Every player has his time. Stop hating and bashing.

  10. Pau & Kobe says:

    I feel sorry for Kobe, but I think even if he comes back to his previous level, the Lakers won’t get to the playoff next season. Lakers roster is weaker than at least 8 teams in the West: OKC, Spurs, Clippers, Grizzlies, Rockets, Warriors, Pelicans, Wolves, and possibly Mavs & Blazers. Lakers signed just some bench players, but not real boost compared to last season.

  11. I want this selfish ball hogging guy to retire, if it wasn’t for shaq he would only have 2 rings and the fact that none of those 3 championships Kobe didn’t even get finals MVP in one of them. People act like Kobe is some god because he never left the lakers, well of course not he only plays on a team that snatches superstars like the Yankees. In fact before they got gasol he even threatened to leave. If he’s like a god to laker lovers where was he in game 7 of finals against the celtics? Ron artest saved him and pau gasol. People will say to me well what about ray allen saving lebron, well what about that three before allen lebron made to bring within two from the spurs. Cant forget the 18 pts scored in the 4th and overtime either. If it wasn’t for lebron the heat wouldn’t have came back. Lebron set the tone in that game. 37 pts in game 7? Why couldn’t Kobe do that??

    • PFTB says:

      So u basically hate kobe because u love LeBron is what ur saying. Just so u know kobe put up 24 points and 15 rebounds against the celtics in game seven. Thats more points than MWP and rebounds than Gasol. It wasnt pretty but the best find a way to do it. I wont even broach the Lebron topic but he is a great player.

    • LBJKIN6JAMES says:

      @ LeBronHeatThreePeat

      I have respect for Kobe, he is a true warrior and competitor, but you are absolutely correct in everything u said !!!! sorry laker fans, sometimes the truth hurts… Kobe is a good offensive scorer, that’s all. He is a T-mac with 5 rings. Like u said, people forget Kobe was begging to be traded until they brought in 2 seven footer all-stars(Bynum / Gasol) … Kobe has been lucky to play for such a large market team that was able to bring in all-star after all-star throughout Kobe’s career. In 17 years in the league Kobe only has 1 MVP…MJ had 5 …LeBron has 4 … enough said …

      • juggernaut584 says:

        All-star after all-star? The Lakers drafted Bynum out of high school and he developed into an all-star. Not only that, the Lakers were two seasons removed from their back to back titles before Bynum made the all star team under Mike Brown. Gasol had been in the league for several years, and had only made one all star team as a reserve before he joined the Lakers. Where are the other all-stars that yall are talking about? Go ahead, I’ll wait…..

        Yes Kobe asked to be traded, but Lebron put on this “everybody look at me, I’m about to team up with players who made several all-star games, and a Finals MVP, but I’m not telling Cleveland I’m not staying till the last minute” 30 minute special. Like I have said on several occasions, Gasol and Bynum did not become household names until they teamed up with the Black Mamba. While Bosh and Wade were multi-all stars, olympic medalists, and known by all casual NBA fans around the world before they teamed up with Lebron in Miami. You wanna talk about bringing in all-star after all-star? Even Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis has more combined all-star appearances than any Lakers players that Kobe has played with outside of Shaq, and they are way past their primes. So you’re right, bandwagon Heat fan. The truth does hurt.

      • LBJKIN6JAMES says:

        Whether Gasol made the all-star team once before he joined the Lakers, or whether Bynum made the all-star team after the Lakers won their championship is completely irrelevant to the point I was making.. The fact is that Kobe had a garbage team for 2 years after Shaq left & Kobe was crying to be traded… meanwhile while King James had a garbage team in Cleveland for 7 YEARS and he never complained or asked to be traded and in fact took that Cleveland team to the finals in 2007 on his back… LeBron is a leader, Kobe is not nor was he ever.. Shaq was. & when Shaq left then he was replaced by 2 seven footer all-stars who helped Kobe get 2 more rings.

        The Lakers/Knicks are the two biggest market/ & richest teams in the league.. therefore they are able to attract/afford all-star after all-star.. im not going to waste my time listing off the numerous all-stars that have put on a purple & gold uniform.. bottom line is that Kobe was lucky throughout his career to play for such a rich franchise who surrounded him with talent for the majority of his career…

        *not a bandwagon heat fan- LeBron fan since day 1*
        get your facts right next time, Laker days are over and so is Kobe … truth hurts..

      • LBJKIN6JAMES says:

        & please feel free to explain the MVP situation for Kobe and the fact that he only has 1 ……………………………………. in 17 years

      • Greg says:

        Same reason why Phil Jackson has 1 coach of the year award

      • LBJKIN6JAMES says:

        @ Greg

        that was one of the dumbest things Ive ever heard in my life

        MJ had 5 … LeBron has 4 ….. why does Kobe only have 1 MVP ??? somebody answer that question ? if not then be quiet….

    • LAL4LIFE says:

      Listen KB and LBJ are completely different players…. And regardless of what you wanna say about KB and lakers LBJ couldn’t do it with the cavs he needs a team where half of them got drafted at the 5 spot or higher… Y’all keep talking about the GOAT and no ever says BILL RUSSELL SMH, I’m lakers fan since 86 born into it but as a fan of the game you gotta know what your talking about.

  12. Go Kobe! Already on the court in first practice with guys.

  13. okc2014 says:

    And Kobe is on social media every second talking about how he’s ready for a comeback. Sound familiar? He’s human just like everyone else and needs to take the time to heal so he doesn’t set himself up for injury again. What’s wrong with healing? The Lakers aren’t doing anything or going anywhere anyways.

    • LBJKIN6JAMES says:

      That’s why Kobe should just gracefully retire or join a top 3 team for a chance to try and get that 6th ring he so desperately wants, because he wants to be like his big brother MJ so badly..

  14. Of course he won’t be back by opening night, that’s just ridiculous. The NBA has been hyping up Kobe’s return all along to make people think he is some sort of god.

  15. nwanja says:

    Reblogged this on autum.