Western Notes: Kobe, Durant, Spurs, Nuggets

Kobe Bryant rejects the notion that he should push for a trade to a contender and professes his loyalty to the Lakers in an interview with Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports. The team’s lack of success in attracting marquee free agents this summer hasn’t left him questioning whether he wants to remain with the franchise.

“It was really tough to land those free agents just because of the opportunities that they had,” Bryant said. “You got [Carmelo Anthony] going back to New York, LeBron [James] going back home to Cleveland. The odds just weren’t in our favor. But I took comfort in the fact that the Lakers did absolutely everything possible to make it happen. Absolutely everything possible. We offered Pau [Gasol] an incredible deal. I saw them put the work in. It’s much different than in 2007 when I felt like they were just sitting on their hands. This is not that case. They were going after it and being aggressive. I will fight for that till the end. They tried, tried and tried and it didn’t work out. I stand behind them 110%. I bleed purple and gold.”

Bryant has been preaching patience amid an 0-4 start for the Lakers, but as the losses mount, we’ll see how long the Black Mamba can remain serene. Here’s more from around the Western Conference:

  • Kevin Durant cited exhaustion when he withdrew from Team USA this summer, but he reveals in a documentary film that Paul George‘s gruesome leg fracture weighed heavily on his mind, as Michael Lee of The Washington Post chronicles.
  • Injury marked the unofficial end of Spurs draft-and-stash prospect Erazem Lorbek‘s time with FC Barcelona before he officially left the Spanish club this summer, but he has his eye on joining San Antonio after he recovers, as he tells Gigantes Del Basket (translation via HoopsHype). The Spurs were reportedly close to signing Lorbek, a 2005 second-round draftee, in 2012, but the now 30-year-old re-signed with Barcelona instead.
  • The Nuggets, who voted for the league’s failed lottery reform proposal, are one of the NBA’s most vociferous opponents to tanking, as Chris Dempsey of The Denver Post writes in his mailbag column. Still, most teams aren’t nearly as concerned about the phenomenon as fans and the media generally are, Dempsey adds.

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