“I believe they’re going to make the playoffs,” West said Tuesday in a phone interview with ESPNNewYork.com. “Look out West, there are some teams two or three games over .500, so they can do it. … Can the Lakers win the championship? They have to get to the playoffs first, and I think they will get there.”… West won’t be sharing any of his in-house scouting reports with Bryant, the star he acquired in a trade with the then-Charlotte Hornets following the 1996 draft, and the player he called the greatest Laker of all-time. “We don’t talk anymore,” West said. “We have different agendas now.”
At this point, no one can really say what may be in store for the Lakers for the duration of this season. There is still too much uncertainty in terms of what they really are, mainly due to bad breaks with a number of injuries that has robbed us of seeing how good they could be with a full squad.
The good news is that the All-Star weekend is approaching, giving Howard some much-needed rest period to – hopefully – return with his ailing shoulder rested and strengthened.
Onto other news from around the league:
- Derek Fisher shot down the idea of him wanting the position of Executive Director of the player’s union:
- Brandon Jennings’ hiring of Jeff Schwartz as his new agent could mean the end of his run as a Buck, from Berger of CBSSports: “Jennings will be one of the top restricted free agents on the market this summer, and his hiring of Schwartz could be ominous for the Bucks. After failing to receive a multi-year extension by the Oct. 31, 2012, deadline the 2009 first-round pick said, “I’m doing my homework on big-market teams.” Schwartz, who also represents Nets point guard Deron Williams, Clippers star Blake Griffin, Celtics star Paul Pierce and other top NBA players at Excel Sports Management, is a noted proponent of the added endorsement income and opportunities that the NBA’s largest cities can provide.”
- Kobe thinks the players need to be more aware of what’s going on with the player’s union, from Berger: “Ten days before union chief Billy Hunter’s future will be decided, Lakers star Kobe Bryant said Tuesday that most NBA players — including himself — are “pretty ignorant” about the issues. “I’m pretty ignorant to what the issues are going to be when we show up, so I don’t know,” Bryant said at the team’s shootaround in preparation for Tuesday night’s game in Brooklyn against the Nets. “I’m pretty sure most of the players are, so we’ll have to educate ourselves. Will a vote come? Probably. We’ve just got to make sure we’re educated enough to make the right the decision.”
- Chris Kaman sounded a bit confused about what he thinks of the league’s concussion policy, from Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News: “It’s the stupidest test ever,” Kaman said. “For so many years in the NBA, they never had to do that stuff, and now they come up with all that concussion protocol [stuff]. “It’s not cool, but it is cool, I guess. It keeps people safe. I just try to do the right things and wait until I can pass the test.” The hard part is that Kaman knows he’s not back to normal yet. He’s still got a little headache, he said. “Hopefully, it’ll progress, I’ll take that test, pass it and hopefully be able to play sooner or later,” he said. “I’m tired of sitting around. I’d rather be playing, but at the same time, I understand there’s a proper way to do things medically to keep people safe.”
- With recent injuries to his back and shoulder, the extra money the Lakers can offer Dwight Howard may be significant to the center, according to Chris Broussard of ESPN: “Atlanta, Dallas and Houston will be Howard’s chief suitors when he enters free agency July 1. But the Lakers can offer Howard a five-year contract worth roughly $118 million while every other team in the league can offer him only about $88 million over four years. The extra $30 million means a lot to Howard, sources said, and is definitely a major advantage for the Lakers. With the injuries he’s recently suffered to his back and shoulder, Howard might be less inclined to give up the extra year of security.”I understand, you know, what the Lakers want,” Howard told Smith on Monday of his contract status.”
- Kobe had some high praise for the play of Earl Clark, from Dave McMenamin of ESPN Los Angeles: “Where would the Lakers be without their throw-in small forward from the Howard trade turned starting power forward turned sometimes center Earl Clark? “We’d be in deep crap,” said Kobe Bryant on Tuesday after Clark had another stellar night in the Lakers’ 92-83 win over the Brooklyn Nets… “He’s been consistent since we put him in the lineup against San Antonio,” Bryant said. “He’s just been consistently playing well. When that happens, you just have to say the player is good. He’s good. He does it on a nightly basis with rebounds and knocking down jumpers and handling the ball and defending. He’s just a really good player.”