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Los Angeles Notes: Bryant, D-League, Russell

Kobe Bryant hasn’t gone on record about his plans for next season, but he remains adamant that he’ll never play for another NBA team besides the Lakers, Baxter Holmes of relays. “I’ve said it so many times. I’m here, I’m a Laker for life,” Bryant said Friday night. “I’m not playing anywhere else, no matter what. It’s just not going to happen. I bleed purple and gold, and that’s just how it’s going to be.

Bryant, who is in the final year of his deal with the Lakers, was addressing some comments made by Phil Jackson, his former coach, and current president of the Knicks, Holmes notes. Back in September, Jackson had said, “I don’t think it’s his last year. It sounds like it may be his last year as a Laker.” Kobe made light of Jackson’s remarks, adding, “That’s Phil baiting you [members of the media] like he always does. He’s a master at it.

Here’s more from L.A.:

  • It was a mild surprise when the Clippers announced that Branden Dawson and C.J. Wilcox were assigned to the D-League this week, considering that executive/coach Doc Rivers had been on record as being hesitant about sending players down to the D-League without the Clippers having an affiliate of their own. Rivers explained his change in thinking to Rowan Kavner of, saying, “We’re sending them to the right place. We talked to them beforehand, we tried to identify somebody that plays somewhat similar offensively to us. The Phoenix group came and it was good.
  • Rivers also told Kavner that it was possible that the Clippers could have their own D-League affiliate at some point in the near future, though there are no plans in the works currently. “We haven’t even decided if we’re going to get one yet,” Rivers said. “But it doesn’t take long to get one.
  • Lakers coach Byron Scott is preaching patience with D’Angelo Russell, the No. 2 overall pick in this year’s NBA Draft, notes Bill Oram of The Orange County Register. “He’s learning,” Scott said of Russell. “I wouldn’t say ‘struggling.’ He’s learning, and that’s what people got to understand, that this is a 19-year-old kid. Even I sit back at times and say, ‘Wait a minute guys, he’s 19. We got to cut him some slack, this is all new to him.’ But fans and people they don’t understand that.

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