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Newz Forum: BASKETBALL: Ticked at Kobe, Mailman's return to L.A. at risk

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posted on Dec, 8 2004 @ 06:04 PM
LOS ANGELES -- Karl Malone has apparently ruled out a return to the Los Angeles Lakers because of comments made by Kobe Bryant in a radio interview, Malone's agent said Tuesday.

"Karl is furious," agent Dwight Manley told The Associated Press. "He felt very disrespected and betrayed after personally being the first to stand up for Kobe over the last year throughout his rape charge and all he went through."

"Who's had Kobe Bryant's back?" Malone said to The (Riverside, Calif.) Press-Enterprise. "What did he do for me?"

Manley said remarks made by Bryant on Monday, coupled with what the agent called "recent personal attacks made in private," led Malone to his decision.

Asked if Malone might play elsewhere, Manley replied: "This certainly opens up that possibility."

Manley first told radio station KMPC of Malone's decision.

Malone said later Tuesday that he would rather not use "those strong words on saying I'm not coming back."

"I wish them the best," he told The Press-Enterprise. "Whether I play or not, I wish them the best. And I was seriously, seriously considering coming back."

"I didn't come to take anybody's glory, anybody's accolades, anybody's anything," Malone told KCBS-TV in a telephone interview. "But if it seems to me that that is what I'm doing, then I would rather move on and turn the page in my life.

"If that's your star player, you want him to want you on the team, right? I don't want to be anybody's distraction."

"Is there any way I can come back and play for the Lakers?" Malone told the newspaper. "You gave a person 100 percent control of an organization -- 100! -- and that person don't want you there. ... How can it be a way for me to play for the Lakers?" reported in August that Malone had informed new Lakers coach Rudy Tomjanovich that, if he plays a 20th season, he would only sign with the Lakers. Malone and Manley later had lunch with Lakers owner Jerry Buss on the eve of training camp to let Buss know that Malone wouldn't sign with another team.

But San Antonio and Minnesota continue to check in regularly with Malone, according to league sources, promising to save a roster spot for him.

Bryant told XTRA on Monday he didn't believe Malone, who is recovering from knee surgery, would come back to the Lakers, calling it "just intuition."

"It's not really fair to hold it over the guys' heads that are here," Bryant said. "The guys that we have here are working hard, practicing hard every day. It's kind of tough for them to be looking over their shoulder, wondering if he's going to come back and then everybody is going to disappear.

"They are here giving me 110 percent. It's really not fair for us to sit around and speculate how long this is going to go on. I mean, you can't sit up here and speculate for the remainder of the season whether or not he is going to come back. I mean, that's not fair to the guys that are working here."

Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said in a statement he hoped Manley's comments did not accurately reflect Malone's feelings about returning to the Lakers.

"If so, it is unfortunate that he would make such a decision based on the reason given," the statement added. "Kobe Bryant's interview ... merely reflected his personal opinion that Karl would probably not return to play this season. Kobe did not at any time state that Karl was not returning, nor was Kobe speaking on behalf of the Lakers management or organization."

Malone, 41, told the Lakers on Oct. 1 he was still recovering from arthroscopic surgery he underwent three months earlier on his right knee and wasn't ready to play. But he didn't rule out returning at some point this season or beyond. He did turn down a consulting job offered to him in October by Buss, however.

Manley and Kupchak had dinner Friday before the Lakers game, and progress had been made with regard to Malone's future with the team, Manley told the Los Angeles Times.

"This is a pretty emotional, traumatic thing," he said. "We were really working toward doing a deal with the Lakers that was really moving in an off-court capacity and potential on-court capacity. All those discussions have stopped at Karl's direction."

"It's not about the Lakers, I love the Lakers," Malone told the Times. "It's about your main guy saying he doesn't want me. I'm a big enough man to understand that, so I'm going to get on with my life, and I've got a great life."

He told The Press-Enterprise that Bryant had too much power for Malone to be comfortable with the team if the younger player didn't want him there.

"Who can tell Kobe Bryant to shut up?" Malone said. "They gave him that power. ... You turn your franchise over to one man and that one man don't like you ... I have respect for so many of those brothers on that team that I would have loved -- absolutely loved -- to have played with them. But I have to do what I have to do, and it's unfortunate."

Malone, the second-leading scorer in NBA history, opted out of his $1.65 million contract following last season, making him a free agent.

After playing 18 seasons for the Utah Jazz, Malone joined the Lakers before last season in search of his first championship. He took a pay cut of about $18 million to sign for $1.5 million.

"Karl sacrificed financially to come to L.A., he sacrificed personally," Manley said. "He put his name and reputation on the line, put his arm around Kobe and said he was a good kid, tried to be his friend, told people to give him the benefit of the doubt.

"And now, basically, to get stabbed in the back, that's how he feels. This has ended any possibility of Karl returning to the Lakers in any capacity."

Malone and Bryant live about six blocks apart in Newport Beach.

Manley said his client is fully recovered from knee surgery and 100 percent physically.

"Karl will have something to say, probably in the next month or so, about his future," Manley said. "It will likely be after the first of the year. I'm personally crossing my fingers that he decides to play."

Several teams, including at least San Antonio, Minnesota, Dallas and Miami, expressed interest in Malone during the offseason. He wouldn't say which team he'd prefer, but The Press-Enterprise reported that the Spurs appear to be the leading candidate.

While with the Lakers, Malone was one of the few players who was close with both Bryant and O'Neal. Bryant signed a $136.4 million contract last summer to remain with the Lakers while O'Neal was traded to Miami.

Malone told The Press-Enterprise he believed that Bryant's wish not to have O'Neal and coach Phil Jackson with the Lakers was behind O'Neal's being traded to Miami and Jackson's contract not being renewed.

"You [Bryant] told me you didn't want me on your team -- on your team! -- I get the message loud and clear," Malone told the newspaper. "And that ain't from my agent. That's from me."

Malone played in 1,434 of a possible 1,444 regular-season games with the Jazz, but missed 40 games with the Lakers -- 39 after tearing a knee ligament Dec. 21 against Phoenix.

He returned in March and played a key role as the Lakers reached the NBA Finals before losing to the Detroit Pistons in five games.

Malone reinjured his knee in Game 2 of the finals, was limited in Games 3 and 4 and didn't play in Game 5. The Lakers lost the last three games.

Malone had played in 193 straight playoff games with the Jazz and Lakers before having to sit out the last game of the finals.

Considered one of the best power forwards in NBA history, Malone averaged a career-low 13.2 points and 8.7 rebounds in 42 games last season, leaving him with career averages of 25.0 points and 10.1 rebounds.

His 36,928 points in 1,476 games trails only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who finished his career with 38,387 points in 1,560 games.



posted on Dec, 8 2004 @ 10:57 PM
Bryant feels Malone took comments the 'wrong way'

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Kobe Bryant would love to have Karl Malone back with the Los Angeles Lakers, and believes comments he made in a recent radio interview were misunderstood.

Bryant also said Wednesday that he tried to call Malone "and square it all out."

Malone's agent, Dwight Manley, said Tuesday that his client had ruled out a return to the Lakers because of what Bryant said in the radio interview and what the agent called "recent personal attacks made in private."

Bryant said he was shocked by Malone's reaction.

"I meant nothing by it. It wasn't directed toward him," Bryant said after the Lakers' shootaround. "I'd love to have him back here, everybody would. If he wants to come back and play, the door's always open.

"This is the type of place he should enjoy playing. I'm happy to hear he's 100 percent. And in no way what I said was directed toward him or a personal attack. If he's felt some type of way about that, then I apologize."

But Bryant also said: "It is what it is, and I want to move on with the team we have here."

Manley said Malone was furious" and "felt very disrespected" after hearing of an account of what Bryant told XTRA radio in an interview Monday.

Bryant told the radio station he didn't think that Malone, who underwent surgery on his right knee last summer, would return to the Lakers, calling it "just intuition." Bryant also said the uncertainty wasn't fair to his teammates.

"I think he took what I said the wrong way," Bryant said Wednesday. "Maybe he didn't hear it, maybe he ran off with what somebody else was saying. If I felt like (Malone) was a distraction, I would have said it. I didn't say anything like that."

Malone told KCBS-TV late Tuesday that he didn't "want to be anyone's distraction."

Bryant said his relationship with Malone has "always been cool."

"If Karl comes back, it will be a tremendous addition," Bryant said. "But if he doesn't, I'm fine rolling with the guys we have here. It's his decision if he wants to come back."

complete story - CBS

I hope that karl comes back, but with either San Antonio or Minnesota

posted on Dec, 12 2004 @ 11:15 PM
Incident involving Kobe's wife sparked feud with Malone

The Kobe Bryant-Karl Malone feud has turned personal, with Bryant accusing Malone of making a pass at his wife at a game.

Malone has been recuperating from knee surgery, and last Tuesday his agent said he didn't plan to return to the Lakers because of comments Bryant made in a radio interview. Bryant spoke about the Lakers having to look over their shoulders, wondering whether Malone was going to play again.

Malone's agent, Dwight Manley, said then that Malone was furious at Bryant, and also said private, personal attacks were involved, but would not elaborate.

Bryant elaborated plenty on Sunday.

He said he had phoned Malone, who has a home near Bryant's in Newport Beach, after Vanessa Bryant told her husband on Nov. 23 that Malone had made inappropriate comments to her that night at the game at Staples Center.

Malone, who was wearing a cowboy boots and hat, brought the child to Vanessa, and then hugged Bryant's wife, the L.A. Times reported.

According to Manley, Vanessa then asked Malone, "Hey, cowboy, what are you hunting?"

"She said it twice," Manley told the L.A. Times, "and Karl answered the second time, "I'm hunting for little Mexican girls."

Bryant said he called Malone and told him, "Stay away from my wife. What's wrong with you? How could you?"

Malone was unavailable for comment Sunday.

According to Manley, however, Malone said he had never made a pass at Bryant's wife, that he initially was surprised at the accusation, and that he apologized to both Bryant and his wife for any remarks she may have considered inappropriate.

Despite his obvious anger toward Malone, Bryant said he would be able to separate his personal feelings if Malone should rejoin the Lakers.

"If he could come back and play for us and help us out, I'm happy to embrace him as a teammate," Bryant said. "But only as a teammate."

What a soap opera. :yawn:

[Edited on 12-12-2004 by ProudAmerican]

posted on Dec, 13 2004 @ 04:47 PM
I jus thope Malone doesn't go back to the Lake Show. It makes me puke when I see him in yellow and purple.

posted on Dec, 15 2004 @ 07:56 PM
Isn't Malone a little over the hill anyway.

I thought he went to the Lakers just so he could pick up a ring and retire (a la Ray Bourque in the NFL). Doesn't look like that's going to happen. A great player with a great career - time to hang it up gramps.

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