Kobe Bryant reportedly on vacation in France before Lakers’ season ends

Kobe BryantThe Los Angeles Lakers are wrapping up a disastrous season on Wednesday night in San Antonio, and Kobe Bryant did not want to be around to witness it.

The Los Angeles Times reports that Bryant took off with his family for a vacation in France either Tuesday or Wednesday.

By contrast, Pau Gasol made the trip to San Antonio with the team even though he’s not playing because of his vertigo. Both players are considered team leaders.

Additionally, The Times says Bryant was heard muttering his unhappiness about being associated with such a bad season during the team photo.

Perhaps word of Kobe’s European excursion becoming news made it back to No. 24, because Bryant sent out this tweet expressing his attitude about dealing with the bad season:

He’s right — that’s about all you can do. And, of course, the Lakers will hope to get a good draft pick and turn it into a winner.

But it’s hard not to view Kobe as a frontrunner after reading this.

Chest bump to Pro Basketball Talk

Herb Kohl, new Bucks owners contributing $200 million towards new arena

Milwaukee BucksMilwaukee Bucks owner Herb Kohl announced Wednesday that he has reached an agreement to sell the team to hedge fund billionaires Wesley Edens and Marc Lasry for $550 million. One of the conditions for the sale is that the team needs to be kept in Milwaukee. To that end, Kohl and the new owners have each agreed to contribute at least $100 million towards a new arena.

During Wednesday’s press conference, Kohl said he would be giving a $100 million gift towards a new arena. The new owners have agreed to contribute at least $100 million for a new arena.

The agreement to contribute that kind of cash towards a new arena should help ensure the Bucks stay in Milwaukee for the long term.

“My priority has always been and will continue to be keeping the Bucks in Milwaukee,” said Kohl via an NBA.com release. “This announcement reinforces that Milwaukee is and will continue to be the home of the Bucks. Wes and Marc agree, and they share my commitment to the long-term success of this franchise in Milwaukee.”

One of the big takeaways here is that the sale of the team at this price has to be a good sign for other NBA owners. The Bucks were valued in January by Forbes at $405 million, which was last in the league. If they sold for $550 million, then how much must the other, more attractive franchises in the league be worth?

Tyson Chandler: ‘I’m not into wasting seasons’

Tyson-Chandler-KnicksTyson Chandler is under contract with the New York Knicks through next season. At age 31, he has reached the point where the end of his NBA career is not that far away. If Phil Jackson’s plan with the Knicks is to free up cap space for the summer of 2015, that means Chandler is not part of the plan. He has no interest in waiting anyway.

“I definitely don’t want to waste another season,” Chandler told Marc Berman of the NY Post on Tuesday. “I don’t want to waste this season. I’m not into wasting seasons. Your time is too short in this league and I want to win a championship, another one. I’m not into wasting seasons.’’

Chandler was asked specifically how he would feel if Jackson’s plan has more to do with the future than the present.

“I’ll cross that bridge when it gets to that point,” he said. “I hope it’s not that situation. That decision isn’t going to be in my hands.”

All indications are that Jackson is looking to put his triangle offense into place in New York. Chandler gained experience playing in that type of system early on in his career with the Chicago Bulls. That said, he could also be dangled as a veteran trade piece who has one year and roughly $14 million remaining on his contract.

“I played (in the triangle offense) my first couple of years, but it was like a square because Phil wasn’t there,” Chandler said. “We ran it with Tim Floyd, then Bill Cartwright. It didn’t work out well, but we didn’t have the talent Phil had in Chicago.”

Of course, a lot of this will depend on Carmelo Anthony. Assuming Anthony opts out of his current deal, we need to wait and see if he will re-sign with the Knicks or head elsewhere. We also need to see if he is even part of Jackson’s future, or if Phil is going to look for a total overhaul over the next two years. If the latter is true, Chandler may have played his last game in New York.

H/T Pro Basketball Talk

Lamar Odom will reportedly sign with Knicks

Lamar OdomPhil Jackson could be on the verge of making his first roster move since taking over as president of the New York Knicks, and it involves a familiar face. According to ESPN.com’s Marc Stein, Lamar Odom is expected to sign with the Knicks this week.

By signing Odom before the 2013-2014 season officially ends, the Knicks would be able to make the second year of his contract and non-guaranteed year. Of course, that would really be the first year he is with the team. It would also allow Odom, who has not appeared in an NBA game in a year, to begin working with the Knicks immediately.

Odom will turn 35 next season. He is still recovering from a back injury that cut his basketball career in Spain short earlier this year.

Sources told Stein that the Knicks are banking on Jackson being able to steer Odom’s career and life in the right direction. We all know the rumors that have surrounded Odom’s personal life over the last year. We also know how highly he thinks of Jackson and how depressed he was when Jackson retired and the Lakers traded him. If Odom is unable to revive his career in Jackson’s familiar triangle offense, he probably won’t get a shot anywhere else.

Chandler Parsons got in car accident; woman who hit him wanted autograph

Chandler ParsonsChandler Parsons was able to play on Monday night despite recovering from minor injuries he suffered last week and getting into a car accident on his way to the game. The Houston Rockets forward, who ended up scoring 21 points and grabbing seven rebounds in a win over the San Antonio Spurs, was reportedly struck by a woman who ran a red light.

Parsons told Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle that the collision happened outside the Toyota Center. He also said the woman asked for a souvenir.

“She said she ran a red light and it was her fault,” Parsons explained. “She had a little car so it kind of messed up the front bumper of my car. She was OK. Asked me to sign her insurance card.”

The woman was apparently not rattled to the point where she didn’t know who Chandler Parsons is, so she must be a pretty big Rockets fan. It takes guts to ask for someone’s autograph after running a red light and crashing into them. I can’t figure out if I respect that move or not. Yeah, I think it’s a power move.

Joakim Noah devastated that it was snowing in Chicago (Video)

Joakim-Noah-snowThe Chicago Bulls have been rolling over the past two weeks with eight wins in their last nine games. Only one more game remains in the regular season before the Bulls begin their playoff series against the Brooklyn Nets, and Joakim Noah is excited for the postseason. The weather? Not so much.

After Chicago’s 108-95 win over the Orlando Magic on Sunday night, Noah spoke to reporters about taking it one game at a time. He also said that this is his favorite time of year and listed the warm weather making a comeback as a reason why. The only problem with that was it was snowing at the time in Chicago. Noah was stunned to learn that.

“You serious?” he asked with a look of disgust. “Na, that’s bulls–t. It’s snowing, for real?”

The best part was the reporter who asked him if he wants to retract his statement and still thinks the Bulls can win it all. The guy was joking, but Noah looked like he was about to punch him when he said it. This former Florida Gator really, really hates cold weather.

Video via Deadspin

Eric Bledsoe has great response for Twitter hater

Eric-Bledsoe-SunsThe Phoenix Suns were eliminated from the playoffs on Monday night with a loss to the Memphis Grizzlies. Having to sit out the postseason must be particularly disappointing for a guy like Eric Bledsoe, who was traded from the Los Angeles Clippers last offseason. Being shipped to a bad team is never fun.

Bledsoe had a lousy night on Monday. He scored just 13 points on 6-for-16 shooting from the field and was just 1-for-4 from beyond the arc. After the game, he had to put a Twitter hater in his place.

If this was 1995, the entire school yard would be yelling “ohhhhhh!!!!!!!” right about now. Bledsoe’s response wasn’t quite as elaborate as the way we have seen some other pro athletes shut their followers up, but it got the job done. He won the battle.

H/T Beyond the Buzzer