Celtics, Mavs talk Rajon Rondo swap

December, 17, 2014
Dec 17

The Boston Celtics, after years of flirting with potential Rajon Rondo deals, are in substantive discussions on a trade that would send Rondo to the Dallas Mavericks, according to league sources.

Sources told ESPN.com that the Celtics and Mavericks have been discussing a swap that would furnish Boston with multiple draft picks -- including at least one future first-rounder -- as well as blossoming Mavericks center Brandan Wright and other players needed to make the salary-cap math work.

Sources say the Celtics also have been talking to teams such as the Sacramento Kings, New York Knicks, Los Angeles Lakers and Houston Rockets about potential Rondo deals, but that the most advanced discussions have been with Dallas.

Because Rondo is in the final year of his current contract, sources say any team that can come to terms on a trade with Boston likely will request permission to confer with Rondo and his representatives to get Rondo's input on the destination, giving them a level of influence into where he might be dealt.

Rondo shrugged off the latest trade talk Wednesday night after Boston's 109-92 win over the Orlando Magic.

"[Trade talk has been] a way of life since I've been here," he said. "It's just part of it."

Rondo, while maintaining that his preference is to continue his career in Boston, has left little doubt in recent months that he intends to test the market as a free agent in July as opposed to signing an extension with the Celtics. However, sources say that Dallas, amid growing concern about its point guard play and sensing the opportunity to acquire a top-flight player it has coveted for some time, is confident it could win over Rondo for the long term if trade terms can be finalized with the Celtics.

If a trade comes to fruition, Rondo would join Dirk Nowitzki

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GettyNBA Kobe vs. Jordan

Dirk: Kobe 'greatest player in my generation'

December, 17, 2014
Dec 17
MacMahon By Tim MacMahon
NEW YORK – Few appreciated Kobe Bryant surpassing Michael Jordan on the NBA’s all-time scoring list as much as the man who is six spots below the Los Angeles Lakers legend.

Of course, Dirk Nowitzki has always been a big fan of Bryant, who now sits in the No. 3 spot among the league’s all-time scoring leaders with 32,331 career points.

“He’s probably the greatest player in my generation that I played against,” said Nowitzki, who has 27,239 career points and will likely pass Elvin Hayes and Moses Malone over the next few weeks to move up to seventh on the list. “Obviously Shaq was very dominant, Tim Duncan was great, but I just loved watching Kobe. I don’t think there will ever be another MJ, but he’s definitely as close as it gets that we’ll ever see.

“He had it all. He’s a clutch player, can make shots from anywhere. I’ve had a blast from watching him during his career very closely. That’s a heck of an accomplishment for sure.”

Panini's Jason Howarth breaks down the demand for Kobe Bryant's trading cards and memorabilia, and he talks about some of the memorabilia Panini Authentic plans to release highlighting Kobe passing Michael Jordan on the all-time scoring list.

Paul George: I took Bryant's advice

December, 16, 2014
Dec 16
[+] EnlargeBryant/George
AP Photo/Michael ConroyPaul George says Kobe Bryant was among the first to check in with him after his injury.

Paul George said this week he got encouragement from a unique source to deal with his broken leg earlier this year.

Kobe Bryant.

George, who is likely to miss the entire season for the Indiana Pacers, told the Los Angeles News Group in an interview that Bryant called him immediately after the injury, which came during a USA Basketball scrimmage in August. Bryant told George to take advantage of his time on the sidelines.

"What I took away from him reaching out is that you have to become the best teammate, be a student and observe the game," George said. "Being out, you have to take it as a positive and sit back and learn."

"Having been through these types of situations myself, I wanted him to know if he needed some advice on how I tried to work on my game, even though I wasn't playing, to give me a call," Bryant said. "I'd like to talk to him a little bit."

The two did, and have remained in contact. They saw each other earlier this week, when the Pacers routed the Lakers 110-91.

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Michelle Beadle does a dramatic reading of Kobe Bryant's "Zero" article in Derek Jeter's The Players' Tribune.

Lakers close trip with 'atrocious' showing

December, 15, 2014
Dec 15
Holmes By Baxter Holmes

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indiana Pacers had a certain look to them Monday night -- or that's what the ever-quotable Nick Young thought, anyway.

"They came out like they ain't had a meal in a long time -- some hungry dogs," the Los Angeles Lakers reserve guard said.

Meanwhile, the Lakers came out like they were hungover -- emotionally, at least. However, from how miserable they looked, one can never assume other factors weren't at play.

The Lakers trailed by as much as 39 points en route to a 110-91 blowout that wasn't nearly that close, dropping them to 8-17 and snapping a three-game winning streak.

[+] EnlargeBryant
AP Photo/Darron CummingsKobe Bryant's 8-of-26 showing fit right in with the rest of the Lakers, who shot 33 percent from the floor on Monday.
This one was u-g-l-y, as the score would indicate.

The Lakers trailed by 33 at intermission, their biggest halftime deficit since the team moved to Los Angeles in 1960. At halftime, they were four points shy of their fewest points in any half ever.

The turning point: tipoff.

"Sometimes, you gotta pat yourself on the back for such an atrocious job," said Lakers star Kobe Bryant, who was indeed atrocious, scoring 21 on 8-of-26 shooting in 30 minutes.

The Lakers were playing their third road game in four nights, and the second of a back-to-back set, so fatigue must be considered.

But players also said there was an emotional hangover from Sunday night in Minneapolis, where Bryant surpassed Michael Jordan for third place on the NBA's all-time scoring list.

"I think we probably got comfortable," Young said. "We all saw everything was about Kobe [on Sunday] night, seeing all the cameras, everybody tweeting. It was streaming everywhere. Kind of got into it. [Monday night] it was like, no more cameras around, no NBA TV following us. That could have been a part of it."

Bryant wouldn't admit that it was a factor.

"We didn't have our legs at the start of the ballgame," Bryant said. "Got in late last night. It's a lot of games for us. Everything was short. All the shots were short. Late on rotations. We just couldn't get ourselves activated."

But Bryant did admit that in his NBA career, now in its 19th season, he can't remember any game getting out of hand so quickly.

The Lakers’ first half was among their worst ever.

"I don't think so," he said. "They jumped out to a quick lead on us, and we just compounded it by the fact that we couldn't throw the ball in the ocean [while] sailing a boat. It was one of those nights."

Lakers coach Byron Scott wasn't pleased with the loss, naturally, but he was happy the Lakers performed well on their recent road trip.

"This was a great road trip for us -- to win two out of three games on this road trip is still a very successful road trip," he said. "We have to keep that in mind."

He didn't deny that the team had an emotional hangover from Sunday, either.

"We could take all that into consideration, but all that is an excuse," Scott said. "We just got outplayed tonight. That's the bottom line."

INDIANAPOLIS -- Rodney Stuckey got his second consecutive double-double, scoring 20 points and grabbing 10 rebounds to lead Indiana over the Los Angeles Lakers 110-91 on Monday night. Los Angeles shot 33 percent from the floor and trailed by 39 points during the game.

The Lakers made 3 of 20 shots, shooting 15 percent in the first quarter, when Indiana pulled away. The Pacers led 34-15 at the end of the quarter. Los Angeles scored eight of its 15 points in the first quarter from the foul line. Indiana stretched its lead over Los Angeles to 33 at halftime, 60-27. The Lakers shot 16 percent from the floor for the entire first half.

C.J. Miles scored 20, Roy Hibbert added 10 points, David West and C.J. Watson each scored 12, and Donald Sloan scored 17 points for Indiana. Kobe Bryant led all Lakers in scoring with 21 points, shooting 8 of 26 from the floor.

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Pacers 110, Lakers 91: Ugly end to streak

December, 15, 2014
Dec 15
Holmes By Baxter Holmes

INDIANAPOLIS -- Woof. This wasn't a game. Just a slaughter. The Los Angeles Lakers trailed by 33 points at intermission, their worst halftime deficit since the team moved to L.A. in 1960. They were four points shy of setting a franchise record for fewest points in any half (23, set against Denver in 2009). Basically, it was downhill from the start and should've been called off from there, as the Indiana Pacers blew out the Lakers 110-91 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, snapping L.A.'s three-game winning streak.

Turning point: Tipoff.

Player of the game: Several Pacers players qualified here. You could pick a name blindfolded and not be wrong. But let's go with Rodney Stuckey. He had 20 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists in a crisp 29 minutes. His plus/minus: +31. Not too shabby.

Milestone of the game: Kobe Bryant finished with an ugly stat line -- 21 points on 8-of-26 shooting in 30 minutes. But he also made more history, becoming the all-time Lakers franchise leader in fouls. Bryant entered the game just three fouls shy of surpassing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who recorded 3,224 fouls in his 14 seasons in purple and gold, and Bryant reached that mark in the second half.

Stat of the game: There are plenty to choose from. In the first half, Pacers guard C.J. Miles made six field goals, one fewer than the Lakers did as a team.

Final thought: Call it a hangover from Bryant's historic night in Minneapolis, when he surpassed Michael Jordan on the all-time scoring list, but it was still quite a hangover.

"SportsNation's" Michelle Beadle, Max Kellerman and Marcellus Wiley, along with Antawn Jamison, discuss whether Michael Jordan is really OK with Kobe Bryant passing him on the all-time NBA scoring list.

Kobe Bryant opens up on passing Jordan

December, 15, 2014
Dec 15
Holmes By Baxter Holmes
A day after passing Michael Jordan on the NBA's all-time scoring list, Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant shared his thoughts on the milestone in a first-person essay for The Players' Tribune.

Bryant, who is now third (32,310 points) on the career scoring list, one spot ahead of Jordan (32,292), recalled nearly giving up basketball when he was 12, before deciding to stick with it because of Jordan.

"I considered maybe just giving up basketball and just focusing on soccer," Bryant wrote. "Here’s where my respect and admiration for [Jordan] was forged. I learned that he had been cut from his high school team as a freshman; I learned he knew what it felt like to be embarrassed, to feel like a failure. But he used those emotions to fuel him, make him stronger, he didn’t quit.

"So I decided to take on my challenge the same way he did. I would channel my failure as fuel to keep my competitive fire burning. I became obsessed with proving to my family — and more importantly to myself — that I CAN DO THIS.

"It became an obsession. I learned everything about the game, the history, the players, the fundamentals. I wasn’t just determined to never have a summer of zero again, I was driven to inflict the same sense of failure on my competition as they unknowingly inflicted on me. My killer instinct to score was born.

"Twenty-four years later, I pass my muse."

Bryant passed Jordan on a pair of free throws in the second quarter of Sunday night's win against the Timberwolves in Minnesota.

He now trails only Karl Malone (36,928) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387) for career NBA points.



Kobe Bryant
25.2 4.8 1.4 35.4
ReboundsJ. Hill 8.6
AssistsK. Bryant 4.8
StealsK. Bryant 1.4
BlocksE. Davis 1.2