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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

Mitch Kupchak: Lakers won’t consult Kobe Bryant on coaching decision

Kobe BryantOn Tuesday, we shared with you a somewhat surprising report indicating that the Los Angeles Lakers are leaning toward keeping Mike D’Antoni at the end of the season. Less than a day later, a conflicting report from ESPNLosAngeles.com’s Dave McMenamin claimed that the exact opposite is true and that D’Antoni is likely to be fired.

Toss in the John Calipari rumors and it is obvious no one outside of the organization really knows what the Lakers’ intentions are. What we do know is that general manager Mitch Kupchack insists Kobe Bryant has nothing to do with the coaching decision.

“We will not consult with him,” Kupchak told Sam Amick of USA Today Sports on Wednesday. “No, we won’t consult with him.”

The most recent news we have heard about the relationship between Bryant and D’Antoni came last month, when it was reported that Kobe has “no interest” in playing for D’Antoni next year and is hoping a new head coach will be in place by the start of the 2014-2015 season.

“We won’t consult with him,” Kupchak said emphatically. “Our decisions going forward — we’re not going to do knee-jerk stuff. We’ll let the season end, and take some time. We’ve got a lot of injuries and surgeries to sort through. That’s a lot to accomplish. We have the draft coming up.”

The Lakers are 25-53 this season, but most would argue that D’Antoni has not been given a fair shot due to injuries to Bryant, Steve Nash and others. Jim Buss chose to hire D’Antoni over bringing back Phil Jackson, so you would think he wants to give the decision a chance to work out.

Given the rough state the Lakers are in, Kupchak also admitted that competing for a championship next season is something that may not happen. Amick followed that up by asking how Kobe will feel about that.

“He’ll be fine. He’s got no choice,” he said. “He’ll be fine. When we lose, he’ll rant and rave and be upset and be hot and won’t talk to anybody, but that’s the way it is. You’ve got to take the good with the bad.”

The $48 million extension the Lakers signed Kobe to this past season is looking worse by the day. It’s tough to imagine him staying healthy after suffering two serious injuries in the last year, and the team has now committed big bucks to a franchise icon who may grow more and more unhappy by the day. If Kobe truly is not involved in selecting the next head coach, he won’t be pleased.

Kobe Bryant on Shaq: ‘It used to drive me crazy that he was so lazy’

Robert-Horry-Phil-Jackson-Started-Shaq-Kobe-FeudShaquille O’Neal relied more on natural talent than hard work throughout his Hall of Fame NBA career. When you’re 7-foot-1 and 325 pounds, the game tends to come to you. Kobe Bryant, on the other hand, is a perfectionist. It’s no secret that the difference in work ethic between Shaq and Kobe contributed to the demise of their relationship.

During a recent interview with Ben McGrath of the New Yorker, Bryant reiterated that he did not approve of the level of effort — or lack thereof — that Shaq put forth on a daily basis.

“It used to drive me crazy that he was so lazy,” Kobe said, via Serena Winters of Lakers Nation. “You got to have the responsibility of working every single day. You can’t skate through s—.”

Shaq and Kobe seemed to skate through three straight championships from 2000-2002, but Shaq injured his toe after that third Lakers title. Rather than having surgery right after the season, he waited until training camp so he could have the procedure done on company time.

As Phil Jackson reminded us a few weeks ago, that injury had a lot to do with Kobe giving up on Shaq. Bryant wanted to win four championships in a row and couldn’t understand the lack of urgency from his teammate. Jackson also said that Shaq played the “clown role” on the team while Kobe was one of the hardest workers he has ever seen.

Kobe desperately wants to win a sixth championship and tie Michael Jordan. If he doesn’t get there, he’ll always feel that Shaq was partially to blame.

H/T Lakers Nation

Kobe Bryant and friend have bet over whether Justin Bieber, Katy Perry will implode first

Justin Bieber Zack Morris hair

Justin Bieber has officially reached the point in his young career where people have little interest in talking about his music. The general public is more concerned about Bieber’s recent DUI arrest and his tendency to believe he is above the law. Kobe Bryant believes that behavior will ultimately lead to the downfall of Bieber’s career.

In a feature that was written on Bryant for the New Yorker, there is mention of a running bet that Kobe has going with a business associate. Kobe and his buddy, a big Bieber fan, have apparently bet on whether it will be Katy Perry or Bieber that self-destructs first.

Bryant, who wears self-discipline like a badge, has long favored the more predictable Perry’s odds, and found in Bieber’s recent tabloid episodes hints of a looming implosion: talent spurned. As he and the associate walked into the dining room at the Four Seasons, in downtown Miami, in late January, the associate, a Belieber, mentioned that Bryant had been giving him a hard time about it for years. He seemed almost ready to concede. That morning, elsewhere in Miami, Bieber had been caught drag racing and booked for driving under the influence.

Bieber has also gotten into trouble for egging his neighbor’s house and pissed off various NFL stars by speeding through his and their neighborhood. I don’t really follow celebrity gossip too closely, but I don’t hear much about Perry getting into trouble with the law.

As someone who signed his first NBA contract at the age of 17, Kobe knows plenty about reaching celebrity stardom at a young age. I like his chances with the wager.

H/T For the Win

Incredible graphic shows Kobe Bryant’s full injury history

Kobe Bryant AchillesKobe Bryant is not known as an injury-prone player, but when you’ve played in the league for 17 years and had deep runs in the postseason most of those times, you’re going to end up with a beat up body.

Over the past year, Bryant has suffered a torn Achilles’ tendon in his left ankle, and then he suffered a fracture in his knee after returning from the Achilles surgery.

As you can see in the graphic shown below, those are the most serious injuries he’s sustained during his career. The rest were mostly of the broken finger or sprained ankle variety:

Another aspect about Bryant is that he is extremely tough and has an incredibly high pain tolerance. Tell him he’s going to miss six weeks, and he’ll be back in two. Tell him he’s out the next five games, and he won’t miss more than one. But there comes a time when fighting your way back from injury earlier than expected and pushing your body backfires, and this was one of those times.

When you’re 35, it’s hard to expect too much from your body. Father time always wins.

H/T @cjzero

Kobe Bryant reportedly does not want Mike D’Antoni back

Mike-D'Antoni-Kobe-Bryant-LakersThe Los Angeles Lakers have played their way to 22-42 record this season. Kobe Bryant appears likely to miss the remainder of the season with a knee injury and will start fresh for the 2014-2015 season. He is reportedly hoping to do so without Mike D’Antoni.

According to Sean Deveney of the Sporting News, Bryant has “no interest” in playing for D’Antoni and is hoping a new coach will be in LA by the start of next season. D’Antoni has done little to secure his job since he was hired by the Lakers prior to last season. If Kobe and his new two-year, $48 million extension want him gone, that will be all the more reason to fire him.

As we know, D’Antoni and Pau Gasol have had problems working together since day one. Gasol believes D’Antoni does not coach to his strengths. Bryant seems to agree, and he considers Gasol a close friend. He has said in recent weeks that he wants the Lakers to keep Gasol this summer.

With Kobe aging rapidly, the Lakers would be wise to gear up for one final championship run this offseason. They will have plenty of cap space to sign top free agents like Carmelo Anthony, and I’m sure Kobe would love to bring ‘Melo on board. However, Anthony had his problems with D’Antoni when he coached the New York Knicks prior to going to LA.

Bottom line? D’Antoni might as well start packing his bags.

Kobe Bryant will miss remainder of the season

Kobe BryantKobe Bryant will reportedly miss the remainder of the 2013-2014 season as he recovers from a knee fracture. The news was first reported on Wednesday by ESPN’s Chris Broussard. The team is expected to make an announcement later this week.

Bryant played in just six games this season after missing the first 19 games while recovering from Achilles surgery. He has been out since Dec. 17 with a fracture of the lateral tibial plateau in his knee. He signed a two-year, $48.5 million contract extension with the Los Angeles Lakers back in November.

On Tuesday, Kobe did not sound all that optimistic about his rehab.

“It’s progressing slowly. It really tests my patience,” he said. ”There’s only so much I can do. I find myself relegated to a bike. The first few weeks, it’s cool. I’m getting a good workout in. Third or fourth, I’m thinking I need to do something else. I want to play. I want to run. I want to do something different. But you got to do what you got to do.”

Bryant was reportedly still experiencing pain and swelling in the knee as of last month. Team physician Dr. Steve Lombardo said at the time that Kobe would be reevaluated in three weeks, which would make sense given the latest news.

The Lakers are 22-42 and would require a miracle to make the playoffs. There’s simply no reason to rush Kobe back with the type of money the team invested in him earlier this season.