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Will Kobe's reported pitch turn off Dwight?
By Chris Broussard | July 4, 2:54 p.m. ET
Two people close to Dwight Howard said Kobe Bryant's reported "pitch" in this past Tuesday's meeting with Howard will hurt the Lakers' chances of retaining the superstar center.
"It'll be a complete turnoff," said one person, who has worked closely with Howard during his career. "He'll be offended and think, 'How can you teach somebody who's been to the Finals how to win?'"
Neither of the sources have spoken to Howard since the meeting with the Lakers. But both have known Howard for years.
Bryant, who joined Lakers brass and teammate Steve Nash in the Lakers' recruitment meeting, said Howard needs Bryant to teach him how to win championships, according to a Yahoo! Sports report.
"You need to learn how it's done first," Bryant reportedly said, according to an anonymous source in the meeting. "And I can teach you here. I know how to do it, and I've learned from the best -- players who have won multiple times over and over. Instead of trying to do things your way. Just listen and learn and tweak it so it fits you."
One person close to the situation said this is not the first time Howard has heard that from Bryant. The source said Bryant began relaying that sentiment to Howard as soon as they became Laker teammates last season.
"Kobe was saying that from the very beginning," the source said. "It was a source of tension between them from the outset."
Barnes' future with Clippers unclear
By Ramona Shelburne | July 4, 9:46 a.m. ET
The Clippers would love to bring back Matt Barnes, who added toughness, 3-point shooting and perimeter defense in a reserve role last season. Barnes would love to come back to the Clippers, too. But with the Clippers getting serious with forward Carl Landry, their affection for Barnes might not be enough.
Sources close to the situation have told ESPN that it might not be possible financially to sign Landry and re-sign Barnes. The Clippers will certainly try -- as they genuinely like both players -- but with only a mid-level exception at their disposal, it simply might not be possible to do both without treading into luxury tax territory (a brave new world for the Clippers).