Dave McMenamin, ESPN Los Angeles: "Kobe Bryant is back at 100 percent. If you believe him. Immediately after the Los Angeles Lakers' 107-83 win over the Golden State Warriors on Sunday, Bryant told a FOX Sports West reporter during an interview shown on the Staples Center video board that he is all the way back from offseason surgery to his right knee and didn't want to be asked about it again.
"Bryant was later asked if his statement was accurate by reporters in the locker room and he stood by it. 'Yes, so leave me the hell alone about my [expletive] knee,' Bryant said.
"Lakers head coach Phil Jackson saw it another way. 'I'm pleased with the progress of Kobe, it looks like his offense is coming along,' Jackson said after Bryant scored 20 points on efficient 8-for-16 shooting. "Defensively he is still working on some things … He's not 100 percent, but that's nice of him to say it.'
"Bryant did not care for Jackson's assessment. 'I'm 100 percent, I don't give a [expletive] what he says,' Bryant said with a laugh. 'Leave me alone about my knee. I'm fine.'"
Frank Dell'Apa, Boston Globe: "[Boston] Celtics guard Delonte West(notes) said after practice yesterday that his conflict with teammate Von Wafer(notes) has been resolved. West and Wafer scuffled during a workout before Friday night's game.
"'It's not that serious,' West said. 'We've moved past that, you know. We're competitive guys being competitive. I'm competitive, he's competitive. Hopefully, it's for the betterment of the team. There's nothing wrong with healthy competition and pushing each other to get better. Things went a little too far but, at the same time, we're able to move past that. We're professionals and we're on to something different, we've forgotten all about it. We actually laughed about it [yesterday].'"
Ken Berger, CBS Sports: "Rudy Fernandez received news from the [Portland] Trail Blazers Friday. No, he hasn't been traded or released. To the contrary, the Blazers picked up the disgruntled swingman's fourth-year option, agent Andy Miller said. Picking up the team option was basically a formality, given that the $2.2 million figure isn't high enough to be a prohibitive factor for potential trade suitors …
"Miller had a brief meeting with Blazers GM Rich Cho and assistant GM Steve Rosenberry, but there is little movement on the trade front. Fernandez, who has publicly asked to be released from his contract so he can return to Spain and incurred several hefty fines as a result, appears to have resigned himself to the fact that he will be a Blazer for the foreseeable future."
Mike Wells, Indianapolis Star: "Passing out of the post was one of the things the Indiana Pacers were worried about with Roy Hibbert(notes) in the preseason. Hibbert, the up-and-coming third-year center, had a tendency to hold the ball without looking for cutters as he made his move to the basket. He's now showing signs of better reading the defense. The 7-2 Hibbert led the team in assists the past two games. He had 11 assists and only three turnovers in the two Pacers victories.
"'When I'm in the post, (assistant coach) Vitaly (Potapenko) tells me to take my time, see how the defense is playing and find the open man," Hibbert said. "So I'm going to let the defense come to me and then I'll find the open guy or make a move to the basket."
"Coach Jim O'Brien wants his offense to go through Hibbert in the post, but he also plans to run the passing game, which involves a lot of moving and cutting to the basket. … 'I've repeatedly said we're going to play through Roy and that's because he's a unique big man,' O'Brien said. 'He's effective in the low post. He can spot up and shoot and he's also a terrific passer and willing passer. Our guys know that.'"
Jason Lloyd, Akron Beacon Journal: "Manny Harris is doing it again. The undrafted rookie took advantage of his first opportunity and [Cleveland Cavaliers] coach Byron Scott had a hard time keeping him off the floor the rest of the preseason. It happened again this weekend, with Harris making a strong enough impression during Friday's blowout loss to the Toronto Raptors that Scott inserted him in the first quarter Saturday against the Sacramento Kings.
"Harris played the entire fourth quarter of Friday's 101-81 loss and scored eight points. With Scott holding Mo Williams(notes) out for one more game, there were some guard's minutes available and Harris was happy to take them. 'I've got four good guards in front of me,'' Harris said. 'I just have to keep working hard and stay ready for my chance.'
"Once Williams returns on Tuesday, Harris will again find it hard to get on the floor barring another injury. But both he and Samardo Samuels(notes) — who scored seven points in seven minutes Friday at Toronto — have shown enough early to be considered potential pieces for the future."
Marc Stein, TrueHoop: "With Monday's 11:59 p.m. ET deadline for contract extensions for 2007 first-round picks almost here, Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant(notes) and Chicago's Joakim Noah(notes) remain the only two players who have actually landed new deals. The list of Class of '07 alumni whose agents still have some hope of completing a deal before the buzzer isn't much longer, either.
"Atlanta's Al Horford(notes) continues to be the most likely extension recipient out there after his All-Star breakthrough last season. One source close to the negotiations told ESPN.com on Sunday that the parties 'are still talking' and says a deal -- rated as 'probable' by another source last week -- is a '50-50' shot at this point. If a deal does go through, according to one informed estimate, Horford would likely receive a five-year deal 'just slightly north of Noah's' in the $65 million range.'"
"'All Rodney's worried about is the 2010-11 season,' Banks said. 'He'll be a restricted free agent and we'll go from there.'
"Banks said Stuckey understands the position the [Detroit] Pistons are in, with the potential ownership change, along with the collective bargaining agreement expiring after the season. … 'All Rodney is concerned about proving his worth this season. He's not bitter,' Banks said. 'We'll discuss this when the time arises in the summer. He understands it's a business and he has an obligation to the Pistons.'"
Rusty Simmons, San Francisco Chronicle: "You could feel the mixed emotions whirling in Brandan Wright's(notes) head as he forced a smile past his gritted teeth. A team source said the Warriors will not offer a contract extension to the 6-foot-10, 210-pound power forward by today's deadline, making the 2007 No. 8 overall pick a restricted free agent at season's end.
"'I hope I'm around to allow my talents to flourish,' the 23-year-old said prior to Sunday's game against the Lakers. 'At the same time, if they don't want me, I'm ready to move forward with another team and come back and burn them.'"
Marc Berman, New York Post: "Wilson Chandler will not get a contract extension by tonight's deadline for 2007 first-round picks, [New York] Knicks team president Donnie Walsh said yesterday. As a result, Chandler will become a restricted free agent in July.
"'We will wait until the year is over,' Walsh told The Post. 'It has nothing to do with Wilson. We want him. It has to do with the fact that there will be a new collective bargaining agreement and we are not sure what impact it would have.'
"Chandler has become an early candidate for sixth man of the year honors and could emerge as a potential pawn in a Carmelo Anthony(notes) deal. He has been the Knicks' best player since his demotion to the bench to start the season, averaging 21 points and 10 rebounds in three games."
Paul Coro, Arizona Republic: "Monday could have gone differently for Jared Dudley(notes) and Earl Clark(notes). Dudley might have been signing a contract extension before Monday's 9 p.m. NBA deadline if there were no threat of a lockout, as teams brace for changes to the collective-bargaining agreement, and no recently added long-term deals on the [Phoenix] Suns payroll.
"Clark might have seen the team option on his contract for the 2011-12 season exercised by the Suns if the general manager who drafted him, Steve Kerr, was still around or if acquisitions in July had not affected his spot in the team's rotation.
"Instead, it is certain that Clark will not have the option exercised by tonight's deadline, and Dudley said it is 'unlikely' he will reach an agreement on an extension. Without an extension and barring a rule change, Dudley would become a restricted free agent next summer.
"'We're going to use the whole time to make all our final decisions,' Suns General Manager Lance Blanks said. 'It's only fair.'"
- Kobe Bryant
- Manny Harris