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Western Notes: Bryant, Rockets, Grizzlies

The Lakers would be better off if Kobe Bryant retired, John Smallwood of the Philadelphia Daily News opines. Bryant hasn’t been an impact player since the 2012/13 season and no longer serves a useful role on a rebuilding team, Smallwood continues. The veteran wing player doesn’t have the mentality to help develop the Lakers’ younger players and his burning desire to win actually hurts the team’s chances of holding onto its first-round pick, Smallwood adds. The Lakers must convey their 2016 pick to the Sixers unless it’s in the top three. Becoming a role player on a contending team via a trade or buyout doesn’t suit Bryant’s personality or ego, so there’s no point in Bryant continuing his career, Smallwood concludes.

In other news around the Western Conference:

  • Rockets coach Kevin McHale is unsure when he’ll feel comfortable playing center Dwight Howard in back-to-backs, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle reports. Howard missed most of the preseason with back tightness after sitting out a portion of last season with fluid buildup in his right knee, Feigen continues. “Dwight’s going to have to build his way up to being in NBA shape and being able to perform at the level he wants,” McHale told Feigen. “It’s not realistic to say you’re going to take that much time off and be able to come back and play.”
  • JaMychal Green is a strong rebounder and that’s the most compelling reason for him to be in the Grizzlies’ rotation, Chris Herrington of the Memphis Commercial Appeal opines. Green, playing on a partially guaranteed deal, has been used as Memphis’ 10th man in the early going and has shown the foundation to be a useful role player, Herrington continues. If he continues to improve on catch-and-shoot opportunities, he’ll secure a rotation spot, Herrington adds.
  • Kings coach George Karl believes mental mistakes and faulty shot selection are the team’s biggest issues after the first three games, Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee reports. “I see a team that needs to get better and get smarter and get serious about those two things,” Karl said to Jones. “We’re not a connected team yet.”

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