[+] EnlargeLance Stephenson
Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY SportsThe Hornets have not found a suitable trade for Lance Stephenson and will hold on to the volatile guard for now, sources say.

Underwhelmed by the quality of trade offers they've received for Lance Stephenson, the Charlotte Hornets have decided to keep the volatile guard "for now,'' according to league sources.

A stunningly poor start to the season, chemistry issues and Stephenson's sub-par play had led the Hornets (6-19) to explore trade possibilities for their prized offseason acquisition just a few months after signing him to a three-year, $27 million deal.

But while sources say as many as seven teams registered interest, including Miami and Brooklyn, no offers intrigued Charlotte and several teams that called did not make trade proposals.

Another factor in the Hornets' decision to keep Stephenson is their growing belief that a groin injury has hindered him all season and played a significant role in his lack of production. Stephenson is expected to miss the next two games because of the groin and did not travel to Philadelphia for Friday's game against the 76ers.


(Read full post)


Kobe not recruiting Durant to Lakers -- yet

December, 18, 2014
Dec 18
4:55
PM PT
Holmes By Baxter Holmes
ESPNLosAngeles.com
Archive
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant has openly praised Kobe Bryant, saying he'd love to play with the Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard.

And while Bryant said he hasn't yet recruited Durant, who is set to become a free agent in 2016, Bryant didn't rule out trying to lure last season's MVP to the Lakers either.

"No, I think we know each other pretty well," Bryant said Thursday at the Lakers' practice facility here, leading into Friday's game between the Thunder (12-13) and Lakers (8-17) at Staples Center.

[+] EnlargeKobe Bryant and Kevin Durant
Layne Murdoch Jr./NBAE/Getty Images"He's a constant learner like myself," Kobe Bryant said of Kevin Durant.
"I don't think it's a discussion that you have in terms of coming here. But I think it's more of an understanding how to play with each other."

Said Bryant, "If the opportunity came up, then that's the time to have that discussion."

It's no secret that the Lakers are among many teams that plan to pursue Durant when he hits free agency.

Durant recently told USA Today that he wouldn't mind playing alongside Bryant, even if it has been reported that Bryant's dominating presence alone is a hindrance for the Lakers as they try to recruit top-flight players.

"Excuse my language, but that's [expletive]," Durant told the newspaper. "I want to play with a winner every single night, especially somebody who wants to win that bad, who works that hard, who demands a lot, who raises up your level. I'd want to play with a guy like that every day. ... [His style] may make people uncomfortable, how he acts and just how he approaches the game, but I love that type of stuff. I think [the accusation] is B.S."

Said Bryant: "I greatly appreciate" Durant's comments.

Bryant added, "As players, we play for each other. We play to have the respect from one another. So to hear those comments coming from your peers, it means a lot."

The two played together on the U.S. Olympic team in 2012 and Durant has said that Bryant has offered him plenty of advice through the years.

"He's a constant learner like myself," Bryant said of Durant. "He's not afraid or embarrassed to ask questions about certain things just like Michael [Jordan] has done for me and other great players have done for me growing up. I'm more than happy to share what I know."

Lakers coach Byron Scott said Bryant and Durant are more similar than they might appear.

"I think they both have the killer instinct in them, but Kobe's is a whole lot more visible [and] Durant's is more quiet," Scott said. "But he's a guy that, I remember [coaching] against him and the ball got knocked out of bounds toward the bench and I was standing and he said, ‘Coach, if I get it, you know I'm going to make it.' So he has a world of confidence in himself too. There's no doubt about that. You don't get to be that good if you don't."

Scott predicted that Durant, who at 26 is the second youngest player to score 15,000 points (LeBron James is the youngest), would one-day join the 30,000-point club.

"He's a unique basketball player," Scott said. "There's not a whole lot of guys that you can put on him that can stop him, because if you put somebody on him that's 6-11, they're probably a lot slower and a lot bigger. If you put somebody smaller on him, he's just going to shoot over him."

Bryant praised how much Durant has changed his game since joining the NBA.

"When he first came into the league, he was more of a perimeter player," Bryant said. "He's since evolved his game to now being a great post player, a great passer out of double teams, a great mid-range game. His evolution as a basketball player just keeps getting better and better."

Bryant was asked if adding Durant -- or any star -- would entice him to extend his career beyond next season, when his two-year extension worth $48.5 million is set to expire.

"I don't know. Maybe," Bryant said. "But it's really my call, man. If I want to play, I'll play. If I don't, I don't. If I don't want to play anymore and go through the process of getting my body ready day in and day out, I'm not going to play."

Mamba Out (Of Control)

December, 18, 2014
Dec 18
4:14
PM PT


video

Tom Haberstroh takes you inside the numbers to show how Kobe Bryant's love affair with the contested midrange jumper has burned the Lakers.

3 Points: MJ fine with Kobe passing him?

December, 18, 2014
Dec 18
7:00
AM PT
By ESPNLosAngeles.com
ESPNLosAngeles.com
Michael Jordan, Kobe BryantAndrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty ImagesMichael Jordan and Kobe Bryant are two of the most competitive players the NBA has seen.

Each week, ESPN.com Lakers beat writer Baxter Holmes, along with ESPN.com NBA writers Ramona Shelburne and Arash Markazi, will weigh in on three questions that are on the minds of Los Angeles Lakers followers.

1. Is Michael Jordan really OK with Kobe Bryant passing him on the all-time scoring list?

Holmes: Remember Jordan's Hall of Fame speech? The one where he torched anyone who he believed possibly slighted him at any point in his life, even if that person really didn't? I'm sure Jordan doesn't like that Kobe passed him, and MJ's statement would've said as much if he were allowed to really speak his mind. But at the end of the day, Jordan has more rings. And to many people, but especially MJ and Kobe, rings are what matter most.

SportsNation

What do you think Michael Jordan's true feelings are about Kobe Bryant passing him on the scoring list?

  •  
    33%
  •  
    33%
  •  
    34%

Discuss (Total votes: 515)

Shelburne: No. And that's why he's Michael Jordan. He and Kobe are two of the most competitive people on the planet. They are never going to be OK when anyone beats them or passes them for a milestone like that. I do think that Michael respects Kobe more than any other current player in the league, though. Their relationship is real. But I can almost guarantee you that a part of MJ is thinking how many more points he'd have than Kobe if he hadn't gone off to play baseball.

Markazi: Yes. Of all the accomplishments or records in Jordan's career that he might be protective of, I don't think being third on the all-time scoring list was one. As long as Jordan has more championships and MVPs than Kobe, I think he's just fine.


2. Was it fine the way Kobe called out his teammates at practice recently?

Holmes: It wasn't anything out of the ordinary. Kobe has been doing that for years -- and he's done it more than once this year. But his approach reminds me that there are different ways to skin a cat. He believes in his approach, whereas someone like Tim Duncan believes in a much different approach. Both have had great success. A key point: Which method is going to make others want to play with you? And which method is more likely to turn others off? The answer is pretty clear.

[+] EnlargeBryant
AP Photo/Darron CummingsKobe Bryant has made a habit of calling out teammates in practice throughout his career.
Shelburne: Yes. That's how he has been his entire career. The only thing different was that he did that in front of the media so the whole world found out about it. But this is how Kobe pushes people. This is how he leads. You may not like it or understand it. Not every player will respond well to that style. But he has five rings that say his way works. He ain't changing now.

Markazi: I think that was actually a regular occurrence that got more attention because Kobe did it in front of the media. I actually think the Lakers needed some tough love and the fact that they beat the Spurs in San Antonio afterward and won three straight shows it was probably more helpful than divisive.


3. Do you believe Jeanie and Jim Buss are on the same page with how to run the Lakers?

Holmes: Great question. I'm still pretty new here, so I'm really not too sure just yet, but it's perhaps the biggest question surrounding the future of the Lakers. Ramona's excellent Q&A with those two shed light on their relationship, and it appears that while both obviously want to win, I'm not for sure if they're completely on the same page. Their comments sure felt that way to me.

[+] EnlargeJeanie Buss, Jim Buss
Chris McPhersonJeanie Buss, and brother Jim, are looking to take the Lakers out of their recent doldrums.
Shelburne: Not yet. I believe they both want to be. They wouldn't have sat for a joint interview for the first time if they weren't committed to trying to run the Lakers together. But it seems as if they still need to improve their communication on certain things. And Jeanie seems to be skeptical of the plan Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak and her brother have to rebuild the current team.

Markazi: For the most part, yes. I mean ideally Phil Jackson would be in the fold, but they are both committed to getting the Lakers back to championship contention and not tanking. I think they're both also committed to going in a different direction if the Lakers aren't in the Finals within three years.
GettyNBA Kobe vs. Jordan

Dirk: Kobe 'greatest player in my generation'

December, 17, 2014
Dec 17
10:00
AM PT
MacMahon By Tim MacMahon
ESPNLosAngeles.com
Archive
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.”
video

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
7:53
PM PT
[+] 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.


(Read full post)


video

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
8:18
PM PT
Holmes By Baxter Holmes
ESPNLosAngeles.com
Archive
video

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."
video

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.


(Read full post)


Pacers 110, Lakers 91: Ugly end to streak

December, 15, 2014
Dec 15
6:17
PM PT
Holmes By Baxter Holmes
ESPNLosAngeles.com
Archive
video

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.
video

"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.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Kobe Bryant
PTS AST STL MIN
25.2 4.8 1.4 35.4
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsJ. Hill 8.6
AssistsK. Bryant 4.8
StealsK. Bryant 1.4
BlocksE. Davis 1.2