Atlantic Notes: Jackson, Kobe, Lopez, Jerebko

It sounds like Phil Jackson and Derek Fisher would like to have former Lakers colleague Kobe Bryant join the Knicks next season, as Tim Bontemps of the New York Post observes based on Jackson’s comment today (Twitter link). Jackson said that he doesn’t think Bryant will retire at season’s end but added that it might be his final year with the Lakers, notes Chris Herring of The Wall Street Journal (on Twitter). Ian Begley of wonders if Jackson was just making a subtle joke (Twitter link), as he is wont to do, and though Bryant’s contract with the Lakers expires this coming summer, Marc Stein of can’t see him playing for any NBA team other than the purple-and-gold (All Twitter links). If Bryant does suit up for a team aside from the Lakers, it would be an overseas team, Stein believes.

While we wait to see how the latest Kobe storyline develops, see more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Jackson said that he’ll be more involved with Fisher this year, at Fisher’s request, observes Ohm Youngmisuk of (Twitter link). It’ll mean more frequent observations from the Zen Master and perhaps more time that Jackson and Fisher will spend watching film together, as Herring relays (via Twitter).
  • Robin Lopez will fit better with the Knicks than Greg Monroe would have because of his superior defense, Jackson once more insisted, in comments that Bontemps and Herring relay (Twitter links).
  • The Nets have little reason not to try to win as much as they can this season, since they owe their 2016 first-round pick to the Celtics without protection, and coach Lionel Hollins confirmed Thursday that the team will remain focused on wins and losses this year, as Roderick Boone of Newsday details. Hollins said veterans would get the first chance at minutes. “Nobody’s said, ‘Wait until next summer,'” Hollins said. “We’re going out and trying to win. Whether we can or not remains to be seen. But it’s not my mindset. And the players’ mindset is not going out there [thinking], ‘We don’t have to try to win this year because it’s a gap year, and the expectations have changed because we broke this group up versus that group up.'”
  • Danny Ainge doesn’t foresee a major shakeup before the start of the season, meaning competition for minutes figures to be fierce among the Celtics, writes Chris Forsberg of Jonas Jerebko, who re-signed with the team this summer, welcomes the challenge, Forsberg also notes. “Competition just makes everyone better,” Jerebko said. “You are supposed to have competition on the team. We have a lot of guys that can play multiple positions so that’s just a plus for us. We can mix it up and have a great coach to mix it up with, so I’m looking forward to it.”
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