Kobe Bryant, who will take the court Sunday for the first time since late January, enjoys playing beside a true point guard in D’Angelo Russell, writes Baxter Holmes of ESPN.com. Bryant, whose 2014/15 season was cut short by a torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder, said he is “definitely playing” in the Lakers‘ preseason opener. He is looking forward to a revised role with Russell on the roster. “I do not like setting up the offense,” Bryant said. “I hate it. [Former Lakers coach Phil Jackson] made me do it years ago, and I had to learn how to do it years ago, to set up the triangle [offense]. I haven’t played with point guards that are playmakers at heart, and D’Angelo is a ridiculous playmaker.”
There’s more from the Pacific Division:
- Paul Pierce has only been a Clipper since July, but he knows his new team pretty well, according to Ben Bolch of The Los Angeles Times. Pierce, who signed a three-year, $10MM deal with L.A., is very familiar with coach Doc Rivers from their time together in Boston. Pierce also was a teammate of Clippers assistant coach Sam Cassell with the Celtics and spent several summers training at L.A.’s practice facility. Pierce said he “already felt like I knew the guys” when he signed.
- Draymond Green said Warriors players will hold one another accountable during coach Steve Kerr’s absence, writes Carl Steward of The Bay Area News Group. Kerr will be gone for an undetermined amount of time while recovering from back surgery. “It’s like if your boss leaves work, everyone relaxes,” Green said. “It’s like a weight off your shoulders. When you’re boss checks out, it’s like, ‘Oh man, what’s up, now we can chill.’ It’s just human nature.”
- The Kings‘ Seth Curry won’t change his approach to the game, even though he has a guaranteed contract for the first time in his NBA career, according to Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee. Curry signed a two-year deal worth $1.96MM with Sacramento this summer. Curry said he expected to go to New Orleans, but the Kings submitted their offer first. “I think it just gives me a sense of trying to fit in with the team and find my role instead of just trying to make the team,” Curry said of the guaranteed money. “But I still have the same sense of urgency that I’ve had in the past.”