Kobe Bryant Notes: Minutes, Free Agents, Jackson

The Lakers can only use Kobe Bryant at power forward against Western Conference teams on a limited basis, Kurt Helin of ProBasketballTalk opines. Lakers coach Byron Scott plans to gives Bryant some minutes at power forward next season, as he told NBA.com’s David Aldridge. “There’s some games, against some teams, where he’ll probably play four,” Scott said. “With his tenaciousness, the way he guards people and when his mind is set, if I say ‘Kobe, you’ve got him,’ he takes that as a challenge.” Helin doubts Bryant will see much action there against some of the better Western Conference teams, pointing out that he cannot match up defensively with the likes of Anthony Davis, Blake Griffin, Serge Ibaka, LaMarcus Aldridge, Zach Randolph, Dirk Nowitzki and Draymond Green. Scott will likely split up most of the minutes at power forward between Julius Randle and Brandon Bass, Helin concludes.

In other news regarding Bryant:

  • Bryant’s failure to reach out to the team’s newcomers is a non-issue for Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak, Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News reports. Roy Hibbert, Lou Williams and Bass were silent during their introductory press conference when asked if Bryant had contacted them. In a SiriusXM NBA Radio interview, Kupchak laughed off the controversy: “Kobe doesn’t call every single player we sign or trade for. I don’t even know if he’s in the country, to be honest with you. There was much made of it. But I thought it was kind of comical.” However, Bryant did attend FC Barcelona’s soccer practice last week in Los Angeles, Medina notes.
  • Knicks president and former Lakers coach Phil Jackson confirmed during a Q&A session with author Charley Rosen posted Monday on ESPN.com that Bryant has a lot of animosity toward him. “Yes, quite often I could feel his hatred,” Jackson told Rosen. “I’m sure Kobe was [upset] when I wrote in “The Last Season” that he was uncoachable. And, yes, we were often at loggerheads. He wanted more freedom and I wanted him to be more disciplined. This is a normal source of friction thing between coaches and players on just about every level of competition.”

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