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Jeanie Buss calls free agents afraid to play with Kobe Bryant 'losers'

Jeanie Buss had a very clear take on players unwilling to join the Lakers because they fear Kobe Bryant.

"Any free agent that would be afraid to play with Kobe Bryant is probably a loser," said Buss on Thursday to ESPN's "SportsCenter."

"I'm glad they wouldn't come to the team."

Bryant was the subject of an inflammatory ESPN.com article that posited that the team's 36-year-old All-Star was to blame for the team's recent struggles.

The article, quoting anonymous sources, claimed Bryant had alienated potential free agents and teammates.

"I read the story. I don't agree with any of it," said Buss, who vowed to root out anyone within the Lakers organization who might have made those allegations to ESPN.

Dwight Howard was the Lakers' biggest free-agent loss, choosing to go to the Houston Rockets instead of re-signing.

The Lakers had cap room for the first time since 1996 this summer. The team pursued LeBron James, but he chose to return to his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers.

Carmelo Anthony,...

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Five takeaways from the Lakers' preseason win over Trail Blazers

A lot was missing from the Lakers’ 94-86 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers — seemingly both teams’ key starters, to begin with. But here are five takeaways from Wednesday’s exhibition with only one more left until Tuesday’s opener against Houston.

1. With Kobe Bryant sitting out so he could rest, Julius Randle finally looked like the seventh pick in the draft. In a good way. He had 17 points and eight rebounds in 24 minutes, and excited the crowd with his numerous coast-to-coast drives.

2. It’s only a matter of time — and full health? — before Jeremy Lin takes over as the Lakers’ starting point guard. He came off the bench and had 13 points and five assists while starter Ronnie Price had eight and three in almost the same number of minutes. Lin, though, had six turnovers. Maybe the two ankle sprains he’s suffered the last two weeks are still bothering him.

3. The Lakers’ other rookie, Jordan Clarkson, didn’t have quite the same impact as Randle but he did beat Allen Crabbe on a...

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Kobe Bryant will sit out Lakers' final two exhibition games

Kobe Bryant will sit out the Lakers' final two exhibition games for rest reasons, a team spokesman said Wednesday.

The Lakers play Wednesday against Portland in Ontario and Friday against Sacramento in Las Vegas.

Bryant, who played only six games last season, finished exhibition play with averages of 19 points, 4 assists, 3 rebounds and 1.7 steals in 26.7 minutes. Also of note: Bryant shot only 39.6% over the six games as the Lakers went 2-4.

He gradually increased his playing time and also his aggressiveness around the basket, topping it off with 27 points in 34 minutes Tuesday in the Lakers' 114-108 overtime loss to Phoenix. He made 10 of 20 shots in that game, with two assists and five turnovers.

The Lakers begin the regular season next Tuesday against Houston at Staples Center.

Starting center Jordan Hill has been bothered by a strained neck and also might sit Wednesday's game. Rookie point guard Jordan Clarkson is expected to play after sitting out more than a week because of a...

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NBA general managers rank Kobe Bryant as third-best shooting guard

Kobe Bryant is the third-best shooting guard in the league, according to a poll of general managers.

The NBA.com annual GM survey, released on Wednesday, lists James Harden of the Houston Rockets as the top guard, with 63% of the vote.

Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson is second with 18.5%, followed by Bryant in a tie with Stephen Curry (also with the Warriors) at 7.4% each.

Curry technically starts at point guard for Golden State, but then Oklahoma City Thunder small forward Kevin Durant came in as the fifth-best shooting guard (3.7%).

Bryant tied Cleveland Cavaliers All-Star LeBron James as the second choice to take a shot with the game on the line. Both received 7.7% of the vote, behind top-choice Durant's overwhelming 76.9%.

Clippers guard Chris Paul was credited with the best basketball IQ (28.6%), and while Lakers veteran Steve Nash came in fourth (10.7%), Bryant was one of many runners-up who received votes.

Nash tied with Kirk Hinrich of the Chicago Bulls for third with...

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Five takeaways from the Lakers' preseason loss to Phoenix Suns

Here are five takeaways from the Lakers' 114-108 overtime exhibition loss to the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday night:

1. The Lakers showed signs of being a good and bad defensive team all in one game. They held the Phoenix Suns to 17 points in the fourth quarter, which allowed the Lakers to actually take a lead. But once the game went into a five-minute overtime, the Lakers gave up 20 points – in just five minutes.

2. Reserve forward/center Ed Davis had another good game for the Lakers. Davis had 11 points on four-for-five shooting, six rebounds and three blocked shots. This was after he had eight points on four-for-five shooting, three rebounds and one blocked shot against Utah on Sunday night.

3. Before Tuesday night’s game, Lakers Coach Byron Scott was asked what’s holding Wesley Johnson back from being the player who was selected fourth overall by Minnesota in the 2010 NBA draft.

“Wesley, I think,” Scott said. “I just don’t think he has the ultimate confidence in himself right now.”

That...

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Lakers star Kobe Bryant rolls on despite negative article

Kobe Bryant appeared before the media late Tuesday night and never looked upset at the question he seemed to know was coming.

Bryant had been ripped yet again, this time in a scathing article on ESPN.com in which he was blamed for the demise of the Lakers and for supposedly being the primary reason why free agents have refused to sign with the team.

The Lakers didn’t land high-profile free agents LeBron James or Carmelo Anthony during last summer’s free-agency period and lost their own free agent, Pau Gasol, to the Chicago Bulls.

The ESPN article, quoting anonymous sources, framed Bryant as someone who alienated potential free agents and teammates.

After scoring 27 points during the Lakers’ 114-108 overtime loss to the Phoenix Suns at Honda Center in Anaheim, Bryant addressed the story that ran on Monday.

“It’s not the first one, it’s not going to be the last one,” Bryant said. “The one thing I’ve come to understand over the years is that you’ll have a bad story that comes out on a...

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