Posts Tagged ‘Bleacher Report’

Reports: Kobe done for the season

By Sekou Smith, NBA.com




VIDEO: Kobe Bryant addressing the media during All-Star Weekend

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – Kobe Bryant‘s 2013-14 season looks to be finished after just six games. All that’s left is the word from either Kobe or the Los Angeles Lakers, according to a report from Bleacher Report columnist Kevin Ding that broke late last night.

ESPN.com’s Chris Broussard confirmed what Ding first reported, saying that Bryant is indeed finished for the 2013-14 season:

Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant will miss the remainder of the season, a league source confirmed to ESPN The Magazine’s Chris Broussard.

Bryant has been sidelined since Dec. 17 with a fracture of the lateral tibial plateau in the knee. He also missed the Lakers’ first 19 games while recovering from a torn Achilles in his left leg suffered last season.


The five-time NBA champion had called his recovery “a slow process” during a news conference held in New Orleans during All-Star Weekend last month.

Bryant was examined by team physician Dr. Steve Lombardo on Feb. 21, and it was determined the 18-year veteran would be sidelined another three weeks before being re-evaluated because of continued pain, swelling and soreness in the knee.

This is yet another blow in a season full of them for Lakers fans, who have been reeling since last summer when Dwight Howard bolted from the scene via free agency for Houston. Bryant missing the remainder of the Lakers’ season, though, is just the latest dagger:

The Los Angeles Lakers are expected to declare Bryant out for the rest of the 2013-14 season later this week, according to team sources. Bryant is not accompanying the team on its trip to Oklahoma City and San Antonio, staying back to be reexamined by team doctor Steve Lombardo. And considering where Bryant’s level of discomfort remains with the fractured lateral tibial plateau in his left knee, barring an unforeseen change, the team will finalize the decision that Bryant will not play again this season.

After his highly anticipated recovery from his torn left Achilles tendon suffered 11 months ago, Bryant played just six games before hurting his knee Dec. 17. He was encouraged by his performance in that final game, a victory over the Memphis Grizzlies, unaware at the time that what he thought was a hyperextended knee was much more significant.

Although the Lakers’ original estimate was that Bryant would miss approximately six weeks, he is now expected to miss the final 17 weeks of the season. He said at the All-Star break he was frustrated by the slow recovery with his knee and noted, “It’s not the mind that wears down, it’s the body.”

Bryant will still be expected to anchor the Lakers next season, when he will be 36. He signed a two-year, $48.5 million extension in November to remain the NBA’s highest-paid player and continue through the 2015-16 season, at which time he will consider retirement.

Although he has expressed hope the Lakers will reload this summer via free agency, indications are the team will piece together a roster around him again with an eye toward saving its salary-cap space for a rich 2015 free-agent class.

Despite Bryant’s limited availability, Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said last month that no one should question Bryant’s ability to play “at a high level” next season.

Some of us have been calling for Bryant, as well as Steve Nash, to punt the remainder of this injury-plagued season for a while now. There’s nothing that can be salvaged from the wreckage of the tire fire that has gone on since last summer. Not even a few late-season appearances from one of the most beloved Lakers of all time.

When the trade deadline came and went last month and Pau Gasol was still a part of the team, it was clear that the Lakers were waving the white flag on this season and preparing for the future with a healthy Bryant as the centerpiece.

The timing of this pending announcement comes during the same week former Lakers coach Phil Jackson, who joined forces with Bryant for five of his 11 titles as a coach, is set to be announced as the basketball operations chief (the title is reportedly still being negotiated) of the New York Knicks.

The Lakers chose Mike D’Antoni as their coach last season over a third round of Jackson, who has chosen not to return in that capacity this time around.

Bryant apparently won’t come back in any capacity this season, either. All that’s left is the official announcement, which could come before the end of the week.

Time For Kobe To Call It A Season




VIDEO: Kobe Bryant opens up to TNT’s David Aldridge about his injury, this season and much more

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – Since no one else wants to say it, I will.

It’s time Kobe Bryant, time to call it a season and hunker down and get ready for the 2014-15 season.

I don’t care that those words constitute blasphemy in the world of Kobe’s followers. Sometimes, even for a great player like Kobe, someone else has to make that call. And someone in the Lakers’ organization needs to make this one. Now that we know Kobe will miss another two to four weeks recovering from the fractured knee that has cost him the Lakers’ last 20 games (news courtesy of our man Kevin Ding from Bleacher Report).

The Lakers’ 4-16 record since the knee fracture was diagnosed is the most obvious nod to Kobe’s greatness but also the most glaring exhibit as to why he needs to forgo the rest of this season. His absence has already buried a mediocre team that is not going to recover in time to make a serious playoff push.

The hole is already too deep.

Kobe pushing it to get back in time to finish out this season in uniform would be a useless exercise for a player who should not be subject to playing exhibition games during the regular season at this stage of his career. Kobe can’t save the Lakers’ season, coach Mike D’Antoni‘s job or anything else by coming back this season. In fact, I think it helps the Lakers’ cause more if he stays off the court the rest of this season and focuses more on his recruiting effort for free agency. (Yeah, I know he said he’s not going to recruit Carmelo Anthony or anyone else, but don’t believe that hype!)

I don’t want to see a Lakers team with Kobe and Steve Nash (who is reportedly close to making his long-awaited return to active rotation duty soon) struggling to find their footing knowing that the season ends for the Lakers on April 16 against the San Antonio Spurs.

It would be different if Kobe was younger, if he was still in the physical prime of his career like Russell Westbrook or Derrick Rose. Rushing back on young legs and resilient joints and bones is a completely different challenge than what Kobe is and will deal with in the future.

Let the rebuilding job begin in the Southland, with Kobe as chief recruiter. His legacy is safe. He can afford to have a six-game season given all that he’s done in his career.

Now it’s time for him to rest up and recharge for next season and put an end to the foolish speculation as to when he’ll come back and what sort of miracles he can whip up for the Lakers this season!

Hang Time Podcast (Episode 144) Featuring SI.com’s Seth Davis

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Digging into the history, life and times of John Wooden, the man, the myth and the legend, is an undertaking any lover of the game would relish.

For best-selling author, CBS analyst and SI.com college hoops expert Seth Davis, it was a literary pilgrimage a lifetime. And the end result, WOODEN: A Coach’s Life (Times Books, Jan. 14) is masterpiece on arguably the greatest coach and teacher in the history of sports.

We dive in on all things Wooden with Davis on Episode 144 of the Hang Time Podcast. While we had him we also discussed the current state of the college game, the NBA stars of the future incubating in college right now (Jabari Parker, Andrew Wiggins, Julius Randle, Aaron Gordon and the rest) and a host of other topics with one of the foremost authorities on the college game.

In addition, there’s discussion about Hollywood Rick hanging at the Golden Globes, the three-team deal between the Warriors, Celtics and Heat, the Heat’s White House visit (and President Obama‘s defense of Mario Chalmers), the Knicks’ J.R. Smith problem, Bleacher Report‘s Ric Bucher suggesting the Clippers are better off without Blake Griffin and a host of other hot topics around the league.

Toss in Sounds of the Game and the latest installment of Braggin’ Rights (you already know who leads the pack) and we should have all of your bases covered.

Check it out on Episode 144 of the Hang Time Podcast featuring SI.com’s Seth Davis.

LISTEN HERE:


As always, we welcome your feedback. You can follow the entire crew, including the Hang Time Podcast, co-hosts Sekou Smith of NBA.com,  Lang Whitaker of NBA.com’s All-Ball Blog and renaissance man Rick Fox of NBA TV, as well as our new super producer Gregg (just like Popovich) Waigand and the best engineer in the business,  Jarell “I Heart Peyton Manning” Wall.

– To download the podcast, click here. To subscribe via iTunes, click here, or get the xml feed if you want to subscribe some other, less iTunes-y way.


VIDEO: The Heat visit with President Obama at the White House

Hang Time Podcast (Episode 135) Western Conference Preview Featuring Kevin Ding Of Bleacher Report (Oh, and Shaq!)

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — One game doesn’t make a season, not even when it’s a win for the battle of Los Angeles won by the underdog (yes, underdog) Lakers.

But the Lakers’ win over the Clippers was the nightcap of a fantastic start to the 2013-14 season, complete with LeBron James and the Miami Heat dismantling Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls on ring night and Paul George and the Indiana Pacers handling the Orlando Magic in their debut.

While the Heat and Pacers are free from the question marks, the Lakers are not. TNT’s Charles Barkley is convinced the Lakers are going to “stink” this season with and or without the services of one Kobe Bean Bryant, an opinion shared by many (though not anyone else on the Hang Time Podcast crew … we’re not that easily swayed).

While Bryant and the Lakers figured to be something of an afterthought this season, you couldn’t tell by what they did on opening night. They thumped the Clippers and forced us to take a hard look at our predictions on Episode 135′s Western Conference Preview Featuring Kevin Ding of Bleacher Report.

Maybe the Lakers, New Orleans Pelicans and Minnesota Timberwolves will all battle it out for one of those final playoff spots in the West this season. At the top, however, Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and the rest of the reigning Western Conference champion San Antonio Spurs will fight it out with the new-look Clippers, Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder for the top spot.

If our crystal ball is correct, though, that party at the top will be crashed by Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, David Lee and the Golden State Warriors and perhaps even Dwight Howard, James Harden, Jeremy Lin and the Houston Rockets.

You get all of that and more on Episode 135 of the Hang Time Podcast, our Western Conference Preview featuring Kevin Ding of Bleacher Report (and that includes some encouraging words of wisdom for us from TNT’s Shaquille “The Big Impersonator” O’Neal).

LISTEN HERE:


As always, we welcome your feedback. You can follow the entire crew, including the Hang Time Podcast, co-hosts Sekou Smith of NBA.com,  Lang Whitaker of NBA.com’s All-Ball Blog and renaissance man Rick Fox of NBA TV, as well as our new super producer Gregg (just like Popovich) Waigand and the best engineer in the business,  Jarell “I Heart Peyton Manning” Wall.

– To download the podcast, click here. To subscribe via iTunes, click here, or get the xml feed if you want to subscribe some other, less iTunes-y way.

Wizards’ Wall All About The Playoffs





HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – He’s going to write it on his shoes before every game, and for his sake let’s hope that adds up to 82 times during the regular season. He’s going to speak it into existence every time someone sticks a camera, microphone or tape recorder in his face.

If can do anything about it, John Wall is going to will the Washington Wizards into the playoffs one way or another.

It’s an ambitious goal for someone who has never known anything but the lottery during his brief career. It’s also a courageous thing to do in this day and age, when anything you say can and will be held against you on social media at some point. I think Wall is right to repeatedly mention the word “playoffs” where his Wizards are concerned. That’s what a leader does, identify the goal and then fight, claw and scrap until that goal is reached.

So when Wall opened up to Howard Beck of Bleacher Report recently, he expanded on what he and Wizards owner Ted Leonsis have been saying for months since before Wall signed that five-year, $80 million extension … it’s playoffs or bust this season:

“I should be in the playoffs,” Wall said.

Don’t just talk about it, be about it. And from all indications that’s exactly what Wall is doing. He’s no longer the young point guard playing strictly on instincts and raw talent. He’s refined his game a bit and his confidence is soaring:

“My first two years, I wasn’t really confident,” Wall said, “because I didn’t believe in myself and some other people didn’t believe in me. But that was just me not being confident in my own ability.”

With another offseason of training and shooting drills behind him, Wall said, “My confidence level is at an all-time high.” He added, “This is the most comfortable I’ve felt with shooting the ball. So I don’t care if I miss 12 straight. I still will shoot an open shot without no hesitation.”

Despite everything, Wall averaged 18.5 points and 7.6 assists last season and is the sixth-fastest player in NBA history to reach 2,000 points and 1,000 assists in a career, hitting those marks in just 124 games.

With a better jumper and a little more judicious passing, Wall might yet threaten to break the top tier of point guards. Early reports from training camp were positive.

“I think he’s taken a step,” coach Randy Wittman said. “Direction and being a leader, and vocal, and being the guy that kind of gets everybody where they need to be.”

We’ve been saying it for months now, the renaissance in Washington starts and ends with Wall and the grand investment Leonsis has made in the now healthy face of his franchise. The talent is there (his backcourt mate Bradley Beal is a budding young talent that is ready for prime time as well). So is the drive. The leadership is still a work in progress, but he’s clearly on the right track.

The only thing left to do … did someone say “playoffs?”

Write it down, take a picture, do whatever you need to young fella.

Set the bar yourself!

Michael Jordan And Kobe Bryant … ‘Anything You Can Do, I Can Do’ (Video)

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – In our seemingly never-ending fascination with the Michael Jordan-Kobe Bryant comparison conversation, someone is always trying to make the case for one of these NBA all-time greats over the other.

But it has occurred to us, as it has so many others, how remarkably similar their games are when viewed through a strictly on-court prism. Naturally, MJ came first so Kobe’s game really seems like more of a shadowing of his idol’s game (they say it’s the highest form of flattery … copying someone).

But this fantastic video from 2012 Mamba, we were first alerted to it by our friends at Bleacher Report, highlights the jaw-dropping similarities in the way these two elite artists played (in Jordan’s case) and still play the game. Feel free to continue the debate after seeing this: