nb_cid nb_clickOther -tt-nb this.style.behavior='url(#default#homepage)';this.setHomePage('http://www.aol.com/?mtmhp=txtlnkusaolp00000051 network-banner-empty mtmhpBanner
14
Search AOL Mail
AOL Mail
Video
Video
AOL Favorites
Favorites
Menu

Kobe won't be coming back this season

Kobe Expects To Be Back At The Top Of His Game





EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (AP) -- Immediately after the Los Angeles Lakers declared Kobe Bryant out for the season, he already was thinking about how to make sure the Lakers will be much less miserable when he returns.

Bryant expressed only mild frustration Wednesday after the long-expected decision to end his 18th NBA season after just six games. The superstar guard's broken bone in his left knee has kept him out since shortly before Christmas, and it still hasn't healed enough for weight-bearing exercise.

With just five weeks left in their injury-ravaged season, the Lakers (22-42) elected to preserve Bryant for next year, when he'll be 36. And though Bryant has barely played, he is determined to make sure the Lakers' failures of this season aren't repeated in 2014-15.

The Lakers' ruthlessly competitive scorer can't take much more of this incompetence from his 16-time NBA champion franchise.

"I feel like killing everybody every time I go to the arena," Bryant said. "I'm just on edge all the time. Yeah, I still feel it, probably more than anybody in the organization does. I probably feel it more, and it drives me absolutely crazy."

Bryant clearly identified the Lakers' top offseason priorities in his mind, and they didn't include specific free-agent additions. The fourth-leading scorer in NBA history called on the Lakers' front office - and owner Jim Buss in particular - to set "a clear direction" for the franchise's return to the top after they miss the playoffs this spring for just the second time in his career.

"You've got to start with Jim," Bryant said. "You've got to start with Jim and Jeanie (Buss), and how that relationship plays out. It starts there, and having clear direction and clear authority. And then it goes down to the coaching staff, and what's Mike (D'Antoni) going to do, what they want to do with Mike, and then it goes from there. It's got to start at the top."

Phil Jackson's apparent decision to take a front-office job with the New York Knicks also drew a negative reaction from Bryant. The Lakers flirted with re-hiring the 11-time NBA champion coach early last season before unexpectedly choosing D'Antoni, whose two injury-plagued teams have gone 62-74.

"You know how I feel about Phil," Bryant said. "I have so much admiration for him, and respect, and have a great relationship with him. Personally, it would be hard for me to understand that happening twice. It would be tough. I don't really get it."

Bryant said nothing about his relationship with D'Antoni, and the coach said he hadn't spoken to Bryant about the decision to shut him down.

But Bryant said he won't be satisfied with another rebuilding year for the Lakers, even though his two-year, $48 million contract extension starting next season will absorb a large chunk of the team's upcoming salary-cap space. Most of Los Angeles' roster will be free agents in the summer, and Bryant has said he wants center Pau Gasol to return.

"How can I be satisfied with it?" Bryant asked. "We're like 100 games under .500. I can't be satisfied with that at all. This is not what we stand for. This is not what we play for. A lot of times, it's hard to understand that message if you're not a die-hard Laker fan. It's hard to really understand where we're coming from, what we're used to, what we're accustomed to, which is playing for championships. Everything else is a complete failure. That's just how it is."

Exactly 11 months after tearing his Achilles, Bryant remained confident he can return in something close to top form. He plans to approach his remaining rehabilitation as "a seven-month training program," giving him ample time to rebuild strength in his left leg.

"I don't want to say I'll be back at the top of my game," Bryant said. "Because everybody is going to think I'm crazy, and it's the old-player-not-letting-go sort of thing. But that's what it's going to be."

Bryant missed the first 19 games of this season after tearing his left Achilles tendon last April, returning Dec. 8. The five-time NBA champion was back in uniform for just 10 days before fracturing the top of his shinbone in Memphis.

The Lakers initially thought Bryant could return shortly after six weeks of recovery, but the bone has been slow to heal.

"With Kobe's injury still not healed, the amount of time he'd need to rehab and be ready to play, and the amount of time remaining in the season, we've simply run out of time for him to return," Lakers trainer Gary Vitti said.

Los Angeles began the day in a three-way tie for last place in the Western Conference with 29 losses in its last 38 games heading into Thursday's trip to Oklahoma City.

Steve Nash hasn't been formally shut down for the season, but D'Antoni indicated it's also unlikely the two-time MVP guard will return this season. The 40-year-old Nash, who has one year left on his contract, has played in only 10 games this season while dealing with back problems and related woes.

D'Antoni said Jordan Hill and Nick Young are both unlikely to play on the Lakers' upcoming two-game road trip, but Gasol is probable despite skipping part of practice Wednesday.

Join the discussion

1000|Char. 1000  Char.
marymillia March 12 2014 at 8:27 PM

I have watched the Lakers games for years. I MISS KOBE SOOOO MUCH. HE IS ONE OF THE BEST, IF NOT THE BEST, PLAYER. It is very depressing to watch the Lakers play and lose all the time. When Kobe was playing, the Lakers were at the top of their game. THE LAKERS NEED TO GET D'ANTONI OUT OF THERE. HE IS NOT DOING ANY GOOD FOR THE LAKERS. I ONLY WISH WE COULD GET PHIL JACKSON BACK. HE KNEW WHAT TO DO WITH THE PLAYERS AND HOW TO DO IT FOR EACH GAME. HE GAVE THEM GOOD ADVICE AND GOOD PLAYS. Gasol is looking very tired lately and has good games and bad games. BUT I MISS KOBE AND I MISS SEEING THE LAKERS WIN. LET'S CLEAN UP THIS MESS.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
1 reply
jwfoust marymillia March 12 2014 at 9:36 PM

For the rest of us it's been great. Tired of seeing Kobe whine about each and every thing on the court. The fact the Lakers are pathetic is eventually going to make them better. It's going to be a while. In the meantime reality has set in.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
ARTHUR BALLOU March 13 2014 at 12:35 PM

THE WAY I SEE IT IS,THE LAKER HAVE GOOD YOUNG TALENT,BUT THEY NEED TO BE COACHED.THE LAKERS NEED TO GET RID OF THE COACH FIRST AND GET A GOOD ALL AROUND PERSON TO COACH. GET RID OF NASH WHOM HAS BACK PROBLEMS,AND GET RID OF PAU GOSOL WHO CAN'T JUMP FOR ONE THING,AND IS TOO TIMID TO BANG WITH THE BIG GUYS. ITS A SHAME THEY LET JACKSON GET AWAY.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
billcdaly March 13 2014 at 11:14 AM

Age caught up with him ... last year.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
evonie55 March 13 2014 at 11:14 AM

Get over your self Kobe! As a long time Laker fan, back in the days of West, Chaimberlin, etc,
your attitude of "me" only hurts the game. If you wern't so selfish and Shaq remained with the Lakers, you could have won more back to back championships, maybe more than Boston. Hope that haunts you forever, for the greatest Lakers are those of the Jabbar, Johnson, Worthy, Cooper, Nixon, Rambis, Scott, etc. ITS SHOWTIME. THE BEST

Flag Reply +1 rate up
Steve-a-rino March 13 2014 at 11:09 AM

Surprise! Basketball will go on without Kobe. There's always a new star waiting in the wings.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
fugitive059 March 13 2014 at 3:11 AM

I am not sorry that Kobi is out for the season. Don't get me wrong, I am sorry that he got hurt, but I do not like his arrogance and ego, it's even worse than "King James". I'm disappointed that they both have those qualities, even if they are great players.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
vstlvlvaccaro March 13 2014 at 11:00 AM

Amazing ..........what people get paid to entertain us ......not hating, but it is truly stunning ....

Flag Reply +2 rate up
john&jan March 13 2014 at 5:21 AM

Lakers Who? They are long gone. no one cares anymore.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
ralphhale3 March 13 2014 at 11:01 AM

smart guy. He knows he's nearly done. He might play a few games next year, score a few points. He'll rehab throughout, say how frustrated he is, and walk away with $30+million. We sure are a stupid society.

Flag Reply +3 rate up
ewa2021830 March 13 2014 at 10:57 AM

Kobe, you have had a long, successful career. time to retire and do something else.

Flag Reply +2 rate up
aol~~ 1209600

Voting...

Back to School Deal

1409405776047

A new item every day in August
Back to School deal

More From Our Partners