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Kobe Bryant keeps Lakers fans guessing

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DALLAS — Kobe Bryant is now delivering head fakes and double-pump fadeaways on the Internet.

This could have been predicted when he joined Twitter this year, and you could almost see him grinning while hammering out the vague phrases "blackout" and "bearhunt" presumably on his smartphone Tuesday morning.

Let the guessing game begin. The theories were plenty.

The "blackout" could have been a strenuous workout by Bryant in his continued recovery from a torn Achilles' tendon. "Blackout," as he described at his annual youth basketball camp in 2011, was typically the "first segment of my on-court workouts" and involved extensive running, offensive drills, cardio and weightlifting.

Lakers optimists figured "bearhunt" meant Bryant was pointing to a return Nov. 15 against the Memphis Grizzlies, though team officials downplayed that connection.

More likely, "bearhunt" refers to the day after Bryant was injured. Opening up on Facebook in an emotional post early that morning, Bryant quoted a Jay-Z lyric, "If you see me in a fight with a bear, [pray] for the bear."

In addition to Tuesday's cryptic tweet, Bryant changed his Twitter avatar to all black.

Bryant worked out at the team hotel Tuesday morning but didn't speak to reporters after the Lakers' 123-104 loss to Dallas that night.

Bryant likes to keep people guessing with his Twitter feed. His previous avatar was an image of the number "1225," presumably a reflection on ESPN's ranking of the Lakers as the 12th-best team in the Western Conference and Bryant as the 25th-best player in the NBA. He has coyly said it refers to the birthday of a family pet.

Bryant was originally supposed to return somewhere from mid-October to mid-January. The Lakers have not updated the timetable for his return.

Luke Walton is on the move

Former Lakers forward Luke Walton wasn't signed by anybody during the off-season, perhaps ending an 11-year NBA career.

He's not exactly sitting around and sulking.

Walton picked up a part-time gig as a TWC Sports Net analyst and added another job this week, accepting a position as player development coach for the L.A. D-Fenders.

He will work out with players on the Lakers' Development League affiliate and scrimmage with them, he said.

"I'm hoping to show them a few things and also get out there and hoop a little bit," said Walton, who hadn't given up hope of playing for an NBA team.

His contracts with TWC Sports Net and the D-Fenders are dissolvable if he gets an offer to play.

"If nothing happens this year, I'll probably retire during the off-season," he said. "I'm going to keep the dream alive a little longer."

Walton, 33, was with the Lakers more than 91/2 seasons before being traded in March 2012 as part of the deal that brought Ramon Sessions from Cleveland.

He averaged 4.7 points and 2.3 assists in 564 games and was a role player on Lakers championship teams in 2009 and 2010.

"His extensive and successful NBA career will allow him to instill the work ethic it requires for our players to reach the NBA," Joey Buss, the D-Fenders team president, said in a statement.

mike.bresnahan@latimes.com

Twitter: @Mike_Bresnahan

Twitter: @EricPincus

Bresnahan reported from Dallas, Pincus from Los Angeles. Pincus is a Times correspondent.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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