Western Notes: Kobe, Mavs, Johnson

March 19 at 7:22pm CDT By Eddie Scarito

Kobe Bryant endorses the Knicks hiring of Phil Jackson despite his well-documented disappointment with the Lakers front office for not bringing Jackson back to Los Angeles. In an article by Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles, Bryant said, “I just think his mentorship shifts. I think it goes from having a direct influence on the players themselves to having a direct influence on the coaching staff, which he’s accustomed to doing because that’s how he coached as well. He really had a great rapport with his coaching staff and he was really a great mentor for them, and I’m sure he’ll do the same thing and it will just kind of trickle down from there. It’s really no different from what Pat [Riley] has been able to do in Miami with [Erik] Spoelstra.” According to the article, Bryant also believes that Jackson will be able to help Carmelo Anthony improve as a player. On what Phil can do for ‘Melo, Bryant said, “Phil will be able to provide that knowledge and he’ll learn more about the game and open up dimensions of the game that he never saw before. So, he’ll just continue to improve.”

More from out west:

  • The Kings had appeared likely to keep 10-day signee Orlando Johnson for the season, but the team has decided against doing so, notes Matt Kawahara of The Sacramento Bee. Johnson’s second 10-day contract expired Monday.
  • The Warriors have assigned Nemanja Nedovic and Ognjen Kuzmic to the Santa Cruz Warriors of the NBA D-League the team has announced. Both players had just been recalled from the D-League yesterday and played in last night’s victory over the Magic.
  • If the Mavericks are able to sign a proven big man after the season, the player most likely to lose his roster spot is DeJuan Blair, writes Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News. Sefko also says that proven big man target is most likely to be Marcin Gortat.
  • In a separate article, Sefko writes that he thinks the Mavs would be well served to pursue Gortat as well as Luol Deng after the season. Both players will be free agents and would fit nicely in the team’s system. Sefko also thinks that Kyle Lowry will be another player the team will take a look at signing, and believes he is ready to be a lead guard on a “top-shelf” playoff team.
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