Kobe Bryant isn’t known for his patience, but that’s what he has been preaching through the Lakers‘ disastrous start, writes Baxter Holmes of ESPNLosAngeles.com. “I’ve been trained really well by the Yodas of the world,” he said. “The thing they’ve always talked about, just looking at the game, looking at the things you can correct.” The Lakers opened the season with embarrassing losses to the Rockets and Suns before keeping it closer in Friday’s defeat against the Clippers. Even worse, rookie Julius Randle suffered a broken leg that will likely keep him sidelined for the season, joining an injury list that includes Steve Nash and Nick Young. Randle’s injury could allow the Lakers to file for a disabled-player exception with the NBA that would give them another $1.499MM to spend, but that’s far from enough to vault the Lakers back to their usual position near the top of the Western Conference. Here’s more from around the West:
- After returning to Dallas this week, J.J. Barea tells Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com that he wishes he had never left. Barea signed a $1.3 million veteran’s minimum deal with the Mavericks on Monday after negotiating a buyout of the final season on his contract with the Timberwolves. “I’m excited to be back,” said Barea, who was part of the Mavericks’ championship team in 2011. “The best five years of my life were here. Hopefully we can get this going again.” MacMahon reports that Barea had no discussions about his role with the team before signing with Dallas.
- Mavericks management is equally happy about the reunion with Barea, according to Dwain Price of the Star-Telegram. “It’s pretty exciting stuff,’’ Mavs president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson said. “It’s a homecoming and we’re just really, really excited about having him back. Clearly, he’s a big chemistry guy and he’s a winner in every sense of the word.’’ Barea will battle for playing time with Jameer Nelson, Devin Harris and Raymond Felton, who is recovering from a high right ankle sprain.
- In Utah, Alec Burks is looking forward to building a contender with the Jazz, he tells John Coon of the Associated Press. Burks signed a contract extension Friday that will give him $42MM over four years, with incentives that could stretch the value as high as $45MM. Utah GM Dennis Lindsey is ecstatic to have his young trio of Burks, Derrick Favors and Gordon Hayward all signed to long-term deals. “We’ve got the future flexibility next year to be very aggressive in the free agent market,” Lindsey said. “Certainly, with expectations of a new cap in lieu of a TV deal, we’ll have great flexibility. When you have a core in place, it’s much easier to attract a significant talent.”