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Owner Jim Buss says Kobe Bryant could play in preseason

Jul 19, 2013, 10:02 AM EDT

Boston Celtics v Los Angeles Lakers Getty Images

If you want to get the most out of Kobe Bryant, put a big obstacle in front of him. Like trying to come back from a ruptured Achilles at age 34.

Kobe has been working out diligently on his recovery, in fact holding himself back and letting it heal has been the hard part, he has said.

Lakers co-owner Jim Buss was in Las Vegas to watch his team play in Summer League and was interviewed by NBA TV and said this about Kobe.

“Well, we’re in Vegas, and I would bet a lot of money that this guy comes back probably in preseason. He’s real sharp in taking care of himself and he’s not going to rush anything just to get back and prove a point. He’s going to come back when he’s right. He’s a machine. He’s inhuman. I see him coming back at the beginning of this season. I can’t believe how much he’s progressed so far.”

The normal recovery time would have had Kobe back somewhere in the middle of the season. But you knew Kobe would be ready sooner than that.

When he returns he will not be the same player — he will lose some athleticism, some explosiveness. Not even Kobe can deny father time.

But over the last five years Kobe’s game has evolved from using that explosiveness to get his shots to using his footwork, his moves, his crafty play to get the shots he wants. He’s moved more into the post at times. Give him the ball at the wing and he’ll make a couple of jab steps, create a little m room then drive to the elbow area where he can pull up for a jumper. He has become very good at getting to his spots on the floor.

Which is to say, Kobe is still going to be good when he comes back. Just not the same.

The Lakers have a preseason game in China, I’d be surprised if he’s back for that. But Game 1 of the regular season, that would not be a surprise.

  1. aboogy123456 - Jul 19, 2013 at 10:04 AM

    I think Buss is right, but saying that Kobe is inhuman kind of takes away from all of the extreme hard work that he puts in.

  2. mrsingh24 - Jul 19, 2013 at 10:06 AM

    Jim Buss the moron is just hoping that Kobe will be back to try to save the Lakers from the abyss once again. Ruining the guys legacy in the last couple of years. Why would you try to change the system in which your current star has won 5 rings.

    • therealhtj - Jul 19, 2013 at 1:59 PM

      The abyss of what? Getting a better draft pick vs. being an 8 seed? They should’ve just amnestied him.

  3. jcmeyer10 - Jul 19, 2013 at 10:08 AM

    Watch the hilarity ensue of Kobe getting slammed for doing what’s best for him.

    • jimeejohnson - Jul 19, 2013 at 1:18 PM

      Two words: Derrick Rose.

      • fanofthegame79 - Jul 19, 2013 at 1:51 PM

        I bet Kobe plays before Rose does. I’m sorry, but I knew Rose was soft for years. I think I was watching a game of his in his rookie or sophomore season, and he ran into another player’s shoulder. And he cried. Let me say that again: Derrick Rose ran into another players SHOULDER and he CRIED on the court…on national tv. And people wonder why it’s taken him 18 months to get back to playing…..

      • aptt15 - Jul 19, 2013 at 9:24 PM

        I think I see a couple of Bucks fans here..

  4. atlbrave5 - Jul 19, 2013 at 10:08 AM

    Jim Buss owes KB24 $30MILLION next season. If the season started on Monday, he would expect KB24 to be starting at the 2!

  5. tannethrill - Jul 19, 2013 at 10:15 AM

    Only a matter of time before the logical move is discussed…Kobe leaving.

    Much more reasonable compared to LBJ and/or Carmelo going to the Lakers.

    He’ll probably realize early next season that it’s over in LA and that’s when it could get ugly if LA won’t trade him. It’ll be a mistake on their part because I see him walking anyway.

    I could see him finishing up with the Clippers.

    • Anoesis - Jul 19, 2013 at 11:09 AM

      1) Bryant will leave, eventually. I believe it’s called “retirement.” The face of this franchise doesn’t get traded.

      2) He will be offered a front office position, if he wants it, upon his retirement. He could also be an effective coach, seeing as how he does that regularly on the court. Well, at least for players smart enough to listen to him (looking at you, Howard).

      3) No one else can “see him finishing up with the Clippers,” including Bryant. Yes, there was the possibility of becoming a free agent before he signed his current extension from the Lakers, but that window closed (if it was ever really open) a long time ago. And he left potentially more money on the free agent table to re-sign with the Lakers.

      April 2010:

      When asked whether he weighed signing an extension against opting out and re-signing as a free agent, Bryant sidestepped the question -– instead asserting his intention to remain a Laker.

      “I didn’t weigh anything,” he said. “I knew I was going to be here.”

      • albertmn - Jul 19, 2013 at 4:06 PM

        Don’t be so sure Kobe wouldn’t play elsewhere. Time will tell.

        But, as far as Kobe being a coach, I don’t think he would be a good coach. Some players are so good that they cannot understand why others can’t do what they do or put in the work they do. I’m not a fan of Kobe, but he is an incredible talent and works very hard to be as good as he is. Other players that have played with him have tired of his yelling at them in game. I think it would only be worse if he were a coach and not in uniform. Plus, the pay cut from his current salary to being a coach, and still doing all of that traveling, wouldn’t seem a great fit. As good as he is, I don’t even seem him in a role like Olajuwon, where people seek him out for some 1-on-1 coaching when he playing days are over. Not a likeable enough guy.

        I could see a front office job, but I fear that much like as a player, he wouldn’t be any better than MJ in that role either. He has made plenty of money, and made his mark on the game. He should just enjoy life whenever he does retire.

      • mogogo1 - Jul 19, 2013 at 6:09 PM

        Why would Kobe ever want to coach? I just don’t see that happening. He’s a worldly guy, so I’d imagine him wanting to travel more. But coaching entails lots of long hours that a guy in his position won’t need to put in.

        And if Michael Jordan could play someplace else, all bets are off regarding Kobe or anybody else in today’s NBA.

    • paleihe - Jul 19, 2013 at 11:50 AM

      Nope, he’s not leaving the Lakers.

    • therealhtj - Jul 19, 2013 at 2:01 PM

      Like someone would trade for that contract.

      • albertmn - Jul 19, 2013 at 9:05 PM

        I assumed most are referring to after his contract is over, if he keeps playing, and not about taking on that contract.

  6. iamhoraceknight - Jul 19, 2013 at 10:23 AM

    Jim Buss MUST Be Fired.

    • ocgunslinger - Jul 20, 2013 at 8:20 AM

      Just like Jerry Jones in Dallas would fire himself.

  7. ProBasketballPundit - Jul 19, 2013 at 10:32 AM

    I’d love to see Kobe come back for the start of the season. He has a chance to pass Kareem on the all time scoring list.

  8. zacksdad - Jul 19, 2013 at 10:57 AM

    Who cares what Jimmie thinks. He also thought Howard would sign. He also thought D’Antoni’s quick offense was a great fit for old Lakers players. He also thought Bynum was the best player on the Lakers for years.

    He did not think of getting Phil. He did not think of getting advice from Phil. He did not think of getting advice from Jeanie.

    Who cares what Jimmie thinks except for Sterling. Sterling now gets the title of the best LA NBA owner.

    Jerry RIP

    • smoothaswilkes - Jul 19, 2013 at 12:34 PM

      Bitter much?

      You realize the D’Antoni was Dr. Buss’ decision, right? You realize that Bynum was the linchpin in getting Howard in the first place, right? And nobody not even Jim thought Bynum was the team’s best player.

      You also know that it was Dr. Buss not Jim that didn’t want Phil to be part of the team at all, right? And why do you think Jeanie would be so good at Jim’s job? She has zero experience on the basketball side. Oh that’s right, you expect her to bring Phil in to do basketball operations.

      Get over it. Phil is not coming back. Jim isn’t going anywhere and neither is D’Antoni short term. How about you quit changing the narrative to fit your poor argument and actually support your team. Everything bad isn’t Jim’s fault and everything good isn’t always Dr. Buss or Mitch.

      • zxrated - Jul 19, 2013 at 12:49 PM


  9. bucrightoff - Jul 19, 2013 at 11:20 AM

    Why rush back to finish 7th in the West? I get that the Lakers are a prideful organization, but is a bunch of 6th-8th place finished the next few years worth it? Tank now and set yourselves up going forward. When’s the last time the Lakers had a young, high level talent? Oh yeah, Kobe Bryant…almost 20 years ago.

    • asimonetti88 - Jul 19, 2013 at 11:44 AM

      “When’s the last time the Lakers had a young, high level talent?”

      Andrew Bynum?

      • bucrightoff - Jul 19, 2013 at 11:51 AM

        Couldn’t have been that high level if they gave up on him within 6 years. Injuries and immaturity, I know…so you trade him for Dwight Howard? Injured, immature Dwight Howard?

      • asimonetti88 - Jul 19, 2013 at 11:55 AM

        I forgot which discussion we’re having. If it’s about Kobe’s legacy, I thought Bynum was part of the best frontcourt in the NBA, arguably the best center in the NBA, that did all the work for Kobe as he just rode Bynum and Pau’s coattails to two championships?

        But I see this discussion is about how intelligent the Laker’s front office is. I forgot in this discussion, Andrew Bynum is immature and injured and that he’s not worth the time. Was never a young, high level talent that was drafted 10th overall, was a 22 year old starter on an NBA championship team and made an All-Star team at 25.

    • paleihe - Jul 19, 2013 at 11:51 AM

      It’s kind of hard to get “young, high level talent” when you’re winning champions and going to the playoffs almost every year.

      • bucrightoff - Jul 19, 2013 at 11:53 AM

        Thats the point. They aren’t even close to that right now. I never get why teams do this. Is the money (presumably the #1 factor) so good from a few more playoff games, that finishing 7th and getting bounced is better than finishing in the bottom five? If you can’t compete for a title, and at present the Lakers are the 3rd best team in their own state, why strive for mediocrity? You gotta reach the bottom before you can climb back to the top.

      • spthegr8 - Jul 19, 2013 at 12:41 PM

        Good Point

      • zxrated - Jul 19, 2013 at 1:22 PM

        @bucrightoff, Bottom 5?!? How much do you know about the Lakers history? Let me give you a little refesher;

        The Lakers have been in the NBA for 64 years and have never been bottom 5 in the league. They have never won less than 30 games. They have only missed the playoffs 5 times in that 64 years. They have never selected below #10 with their own lottery pick. The Laker way is to retool not tank to reach for the top. This is the 64 year running history.

        Other teams have adopted this way but none have been as long term committed to it like the Buss family. The 90’s were horrible for the Lakers coming off the 80’s. Where did the striving for mediocrity stuff come from? They weren’t striving for failure in the 90’s. They never tanked during that time either. From 91-95 the team was stuck in so called mediocrity. They never picked higher than #12 in the draft but still pressed on in the Laker way. 1996 the made the trades that got Shaq and Kobe. The rest is Lakeshow history.

        The Celtics tried the tanking theme in 96, they only won 15 games trying to land Tim Duncan in 97. They got Chauancy Billups instead. and he never delivered for them. The Grizzlies tanked in 2003 trying to get LeBron. Another tanking case of tanking failure.

        Tanking is a game of chance, the Laker way of retooling is a time tested model most look to as championship example.

      • loungefly74 - Jul 19, 2013 at 1:36 PM

        so…tell me bucrightoff, whose basketball business logic should they follow? please tell me the team that is doing what you are suggesting and have/had success? don’t say the Spurs….they were not a championship team before Duncan came. don’t say the Thunder because they used to be the Sonics…they freakin’ lost their franchise! (the extreme opposite of what is good for your team)…because the teams that “tank”…continue to suck…and “tank”. teams that “tank” are bottom-dwellers. good franchises never “tank”. i’m trying not to confuse “tank” with “reload” as well….teams will have down years, hey, that happens. you cant win every year. if down years are 1st rd playoff loss…i’m cool with that. because i know they will get back up to title contention.

        great point @asimonetti88…seriously, which angle will they play this time to prove some point? bynum: good or bad? depends on the topic! SMH…

        back to the story…Kobe is a freakin stud. this is great news for Laker fans. This year (and every year)…i look forward to watching the Lakers.

      • albertmn - Jul 19, 2013 at 4:18 PM

        zxrated – I won’t necessarily argue your main point. But, today’s professional sports are almost nothing like 40 or 50 years ago, so comparing a 64 year history loses a little in translation, even if it is very impressive.

      • zxrated - Jul 19, 2013 at 5:25 PM

        @albertmn, that 64 year history is an ongoing comparison… it includes the Buss era which encompases the last 33 years in which the Lakers reloaded just 6 years ago going to three consecutive finals winninf two. Pat Riley is in Miami using the Laker way and the Heat have been to the last three finals winning two also. That’s 6 of the last 7 most recent NBA champions using the Lakers model.

      • albertmn - Jul 19, 2013 at 9:11 PM

        Come on! The Heat win two titles because of “The Decision” and you are going to give that credit to the Lakers. Wow! I knew a lot of Laker fans were delirious, but that is just beyond believable and kills any credibility you might have had.

        My point was that how teams that competed with no salary cap, in an era with half as many teams, doesn’t really apply to the current NBA, but you are trying to twist what I said. How can you compare the Mikan era and say that has ANY reflection on the current Lakers? I will leave you to your delusions and not post further on this point. Besides, you strike me as someone how needs to get the last word, so I am sure you will keep posting until you get it. People like you assume last word and/or loudest word wins, and not logic.

        Have a nice weekend, everyone!

  10. zxrated - Jul 19, 2013 at 12:29 PM

    No matter what Jimmy says or does most uninformed Lakers fans will hate it/him.

    Jimmy gets all the blame despite the fact that it was Dr. Buss who fired Phil in 2004, hated paying him 12 mil a season, didn’t really like the triangle offense, reluctantly rehired him in 2005, wanted to fire him again in 2008 after the Lakers loss to the Celtics in the finals where Jimmy and Mitch convinced Dr. Buss not to. Dr. Buss gladly accepted Phil’s resignation in 2011, and said Phil was never gonna get a FO/ownership stake of the Lakers “because the Lakers belong to my children and that’s the way it’s gonna be!”

    Most will call me a lie while their eyes are twitching but these are all documented facts of the actual dysfunction that was between Dr. Buss and Phil. All of the Jimmy hate is centered around the ESPN/First Take misguided propaganda.

    This is a 2005 interview with Dr. Buss that tells the tale of the general misconceptions…

    “I understand that, for one thing I was a fan a long time before I was an owner. But you know there are certain misconceptions. How many people have really sat in on FO decisions? The answer is the public perception of what occurs and what actually occurs often times is very different.” –Dr. Buss

    • kb2408 - Jul 19, 2013 at 1:30 PM

      Good stuff, sir! Haters hate the LAKERS for the same reason they hate the Yankees…they win more than they lose! I’m amazed at the criticism Jim gets. It’s like these numbskulls think he didn’t learn anything from his dad all those years.

  11. harshedmellow - Jul 19, 2013 at 1:08 PM

    Clearly, Mr. Buss has not ruptured an Achilles, rehabbed, and then returned to an elite athletic status. Sheesh!

    This isn’t a “willpower” injury. It’s not a “buck up trooper!” injury. It’s most ovary ally NOT a “come back early!” injury, either.

    Kobe has a whole lot of mountain left to climb, and it’ll have many false summits. On top of that, he’d be an idiot to rush back. Kobe is many things but he’s no idiot.

    He’ll TRY to play around March ’14 in an effort to get some kind of something going for the playoffs, if the Lakers are even in the hunt. If not, don’t expect him back at all unless it’s to show he can still play– to try to up the value of his next (final) contract.

    But back for the PRESEASON?! That made me blow coffee all over my iPhone. Thanks for that, Mr. Buss!

  12. harshedmellow - Jul 19, 2013 at 1:09 PM

    “ovary ally”…? Really, iPhone? REALLY?

  13. kb2408 - Jul 19, 2013 at 1:32 PM

    Count on the Black Mamba to do his best Adrian Peterson imitation next season. His will, dedication and work ethic are unmatched.

  14. bucs24 - Jul 19, 2013 at 3:18 PM

    Don’t resign him you should of cut him

  15. money2long - Jul 19, 2013 at 3:20 PM

    The Beautiful Artistry of Kobe Bryant

  16. money2long - Jul 19, 2013 at 3:31 PM

    The Beautiful Artistry of Kobe Bryant

  17. provguard - Jul 19, 2013 at 6:19 PM

    Kind of put pressure on his star player….

    • kb2408 - Jul 19, 2013 at 7:04 PM

      If there is any player in the NBA that can handle the pressure, it is Kobe Bean Bryant.

  18. fredagsedb - Jul 19, 2013 at 8:28 PM

    If he comes back to start the season and cuts 3 months of his recovery time I’ll be thinking doping.

  19. onlyavoice - Jul 19, 2013 at 11:40 PM

    If Kobe Can Come Back & Play At A High Level I Expect Him To Be The Reason D’Antoni Will Be Fired Before The Seasons End.
    Kobe Guaranteed The Team Will Make The Playoffs Is When Kobe Tuned D’Antoni Out & Had Nash Moved To The 2. Why?, Because D’Antoni & Nash Have No Clue On How To Use The Bigs.
    (Nash Publicly Stated Twice In Phoenix He Couldn’t Adjust To Playing With a True Center, SHAQ)
    Kobe Took Over & The Team Started To Win & Both Pau (D’Antoni’s Bench Boy) & Howard Were Both Playing & Producing. (UNTIL KOBE GOT HURT).
    The Playoffs Started & Kobe Was Texting In Plays (He Publicly Humiliated D’Antoni) But D’Antoni Went Right Back To Having No Clue & That’s When Howard Had Enough.(He Quit, But So Did Kobe)
    If Kobe Didn’t Get Hurt (Management Not Knowing If He Could Play Ever Again) I Would Have Bet That Jimmy Would Have Not Committed To D’Antoni (Fired Him) & Howard Would Have Resigned.
    (Please Don’t Listen To Gay Boy Nash (Everyone Knows) & D’Antoni (The Only 2) Bashing Howard & Saying The Team Will Be Better, They Both Are 1 Dimensional & BOTH Have Had Their Images Tarnished Last Season Playing For a Winning Organization) HOWARDS BEEF WAS WITH D’ANTONI & QUEEN NASH, NOT KOBE.
    Kobe May Have Looked Like A Ball Hog Last Seasons End, But If You Look At What He Had To Do
    Physically & Mentally To Get That Team To The Playoffs It Is No Surprise That Something In Him Snapped.
    Trust This, D’Antoni & Nash Are Hoping Kobe Can’t Return, Just For Their Image Sake.
    God Speed Kobe, Come Back Strong.

  20. houstonoilers - Jul 20, 2013 at 12:58 PM

    Hey Jim, nobody wants to hear from you. The team will never be the same without you father, so just let your sister do the work and you just leave.

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