Again, there isn’t too much Lakers’ news this Tuesday morning outside of Kobe definitely playing tonight in Memphis against the Grizzlies. Land O’ Lakers has some post practice interviews from Ron Artest, Phil Jackson and Pau Gasol where they collectively talk about Kobe’s return to the line up, the game against Memphis, and Marc Gasol. And here is the video of Kobe’s post game interview where he discusses the strength of his ankle and integrating himself back into the line up.
Kobe has been on featured in SLAM and GQ recently, and has now received the DIME Magazine cover which chronicles Kobe’s greatness (note: the story starts on Page 62):
“And now, the rest of the man’s legacy is on the line. Is Kobe a Top-10 player of all-time? Top five? We’ve created a glass ceiling wherein nobody can touch Jordan, Russell, Wilt, Magic and Bird – and often but not always, Oscar, Jerry West, Kareem and Doctor J – that Kobe is threatening to shatter. Why not? Kobe has more rings tha Bird and more buckets than Magic; he’s better defensively than West, better offensively than Russell, more clutch than Wilt. His flair for the dramatic is exceeded only by Jordan.
“Still in his prime at 31, Kobe is moving into a transitional period. The mountains left to climb have only older legends at the top, while at his heels are the younger stars gunning for his spot: LeBron, D-Wade, Dwight, B-Roy, Carmelo, Chris Paul. To that extent, he is constantly extended – both stiff-arming the challengers below while reaching for the crown held by his idols above.”
NBA Fanhouse has a sit down interview with the Lakers’ Jeanie Buss where she discusses the state of the NBA, the Lakers, her father and lets us know that she originally voted against bringing in Phil Jackson to coach the Lakers back in 1999. Thank goodness she lost that vote.
The Grizzlies’ 3 Shades of Blue blog has a preview for tonight’s game from the Memphis perspective where Chip Crain breaks down tonight’s game position-by-position.
Around The League
Much has been said about Zydrunas Ilgauskas returning to the Cleveland Cavaliers after his buyout with the Washington Wizards. Many fans have been upset with the prospect of Cleveland giving up little to nothing to pick up Antwan Jamison in the three-way trade. The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported that the League would not do anything to prevent Big Z’s return to Cleveland if he chooses to do so. There was no prior agreement of Z returning to Cleveland before the trade happened and “Z was paid more than $20mm by Cavs, missing 2 seasons w/ foot injuries. Cavs then gave him $50 million deal with no insurance protection. A potential Z return will upset people but it is within rules and decision relates to a decade-long, deep relationship w/team, fans, city. Only Kobe had a longer tenure with a team. Deal didn’t have to be pre-arranged, always going to be natural b/c of rare circumstances.” (Quote via Brian Windhorst’s twitter.)
A high-ranking NBA source denied a report that the league would prevent Zydrunas Ilgauskas from returning to the Cavaliers if he is bought out by the Washington Wizards.
The source, who requested anonymity because the league typically does not comment on what is essentially a personnel matter, told The Plain Dealer there was no truth to a report from the Los Angeles Times claiming the NBA would try to block Ilgauskas’ return because the deal was previously agreed upon by the teams.
There has been no evidence of any such agreement.
Also, this video of LeBron James’ pregame handshake rituals is hilarious. ‘Bron has A LOT of pre-game handshakes.
Allen Iverson has left the Philadelphia 76ers again to spend time with his ill daughter – the same reason he missed the All-Star Game.
The Celtics Paul Pierce could potentially miss up to a week due to his injured thumb. They would play New York, Cleveland, New Jersey and Detroit in that stretch.
Lastly, Phoenix’s Steve Nash won’t be making the trip to Oklahoma City to rest his ailing back. Nash’s back has been a problem for a long time now, it must be really bad for him to be sitting out a game against a team that they’re a half-game behind in the Western Conference.