first_img“It would be awful. But Kobe should be on the All-Star team,” said Rivers, who argued Bryant, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett should automatically make the team in the last year of their NBA careers. “Certain guys earn that right. Unfortunately for other guys that can’t make it, they have to earn that right.” Bryant, who has played small forward this season, is ahead of Oklahoma City forward Kevin Durant (349,473 votes), Griffin (182,107) and San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard (164,521). Fans can select up to three frontcourt players to start. Once voting ends on Jan. 18, NBA coaches can select the reserves.“Every year guys don’t get to play in the All-Star game who probably deserve to because of the 12-man roster. If it was me, you kind of understand. It’s kind of just a tip of the cap to a guy that’s come before you that’s paved the road for a lot of guys,” Griffin said. “And the All-Star game is for the fans. The fans vote. We play for the fans. It’s not a real game, no one’s really out there trying too hard. But we’re trying to put on a show and have a good time for the fans. So if the fans want to see Kobe Bryant in the All-Star game, that’s what they should get.”That will happen barring Bryant experiencing a major injury. “I have plenty of time off coming up” Bryant said. “I enjoy trying to play as much as I can. If physically I can’t play, if I’m not out there you know I physically can’t do it. If I’m able, I’m all for it. it’ll be fun to go out there and play of the guys and hang around them for one more time.”Tough pitchThe assignment became as difficult as stopping Jordan from throwing down an alley-oop lob. The Lakers hoped they could convince Jordan to leave a less talented team for less money by touting the franchise’s championship history and platform to have what Scott called “a fresh start.” “Start over with some young talent and help them develop,” Scott said. “Hopefully when we get a couple of guys to go along with him, we could be a team that definitely would compete for a championship.”All the attention surrounding Jordan’s free-agency centered on two things. He withdrew his verbal commitment with the Dallas Mavericks. Numerous reports emerged regarding Jordan’s frustration with Chris Paul’s demanding leadership style and his role on the Clippers. But another subplot involved the Lakers’ free agency failures. They missed out last summer on all their intended targets, including LaMarcus Aldridge, Greg Monroe and Jordan. “The two teams in L.A. will always be an option for everybody else. You see the traffic every day, right?” Rivers said. “People like living here. Despite the taxes, they still like living here. It tells you something. And the Lakers have a ton of money. So I think the Lakers are a free agent destination for a lot of people.”With Bryant’s retirement after this season, the Lakers will have enough cap space to sign two players to max deals.“It was an experience in education with some of the things we did,” Scott said. “This summer, we’ll sit down and talk about our approach as far as guys we’ll target.” Before they voted, the fans did not take into account Kobe Bryant’s fight against Father Time. Nor did fans worry about the Lakers’ season-long struggles.Bryant still led in the first returns on the 2016 NBA All-Star ballot with 719,235 votes. That marked a huge lead over Golden State’s Stephen Curry (510,202) and Cleveland’s LeBron James (357,937). That left Bryant “shocked” as he read the news on his Instragram account while he was out on Christmas Day grabbing coffee and filling up on gas. Though Bryant called the results “a huge honor,” the Lakers’ star sounded mindful of the implications.The All-Star games are always tough. There’s always players that deserve to make it that don’t,” Bryant said. “Every year with the amount of talent that we have, that part of it is tough. But getting the respect from the peers and other coaches around the league is awesome.” Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorcenter_img That was apparent before the Lakers’ 94-84 loss to the Clippers on Friday at a designated road game at Staples Center. “The fans are showing a lot of love for one of the greatest guys to play the game,” Lakers coach Byron Scott said. “It’s obviously a tribute to him. I don’t think it has to do a whole lot of this year. It’s more his body of work. The fans are showing their appreciation.”Clippers coach Doc Rivers argued “Kobe should be on the All-Star team” averaging 17.4 points on 34.4 percent shooting because he is playing in his 20th and final NBA season.“I don’t care how he gets on there,” said Rivers, who argued the NBA should add a 13th roster spot if needed. “I’m a big believer in that. A lot of people disagree with me on that. That’s fine. I have my opinion.”But what if Bryant, who is listed as a frontcourt player, makes his 18th All-Star appearance on Feb. 14 in Toronto at the expense of the Clippers’ Blake Griffin or DeAndre Jordan?last_img

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