Archive for the ‘ Houston Rockets Blog ’ Category

Royce White to open mental health center in Houston

While things didn’t work out with forward Royce White and the Rockets, the NBA player (traded to Philadelphia in July) will have an everlasting mark in the Bayou City.

On Wednesday morning, White announced a partnership with his non-profit organization Anxious Mind’s Inc. and Bee Busy Wellness Center to create the Royce White Institute of Mental Health on the city’s southwest side.

The Wellness Center, which is a 17,000-square foot facility that will also have dental and primary care, is located at 6640 W. Bellfort and will open in January 2014.

“When I met Royce White a couple of years ago, I knew we would do something special like this,” Bee Busy CEO Normal Mitchell said. “I think it will be a great thing for this community.”

Reported by Jenny Dial Creech of the Houston Chronicle (Blog)

Houston Rockets sign Ronnie Brewer

Houston Rockets sign Ronnie Brewer

Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey announced today that the team has signed unrestricted free agent forward Ronnie Brewer. With the addition of Brewer, the Rockets roster now stands at 19 players.

Brewer (6-7, 235, Arkansas) has averaged 8.2 points, 3.0 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.29 steals in 478 career games (301 starts) with Utah, Memphis, Chicago, New York and Oklahoma City. Last season, Brewer split time between the Knicks and Thunder, averaging 3.0 points and 2.3 rebounds over 14.2 minutes per outing in 60 games (34 starts). His best statistical season came in 2008-09, when he averaged a career-high 13.7 points (.508 FG%) with a career-best 3.7 rebounds in 32.2 minutes per game over 81 appearances (80 starts). Brewer also ranked seventh in the NBA in steals (1.70) in 2008-09. The seven-year veteran has also posted career averages of 5.6 points and 2.6 boards in 47 postseason games (17 starts).

Originally selected by the Jazz in the first round (14th overall) of the 2006 NBA Draft, Brewer was traded by Utah to Memphis on Feb. 18, 2010. He went on to sign as a free agent with Chicago on July 16, 2010. Brewer spent two seasons with the Bulls before inking a free agent deal with New York on July 25, 2012. He was acquired by the Thunder from the Knicks on Feb. 21, 2013.

As a collegian, Brewer averaged 15.7 points and 5.0 rebounds in 90 career games (89 starts) over three seasons at Arkansas. He was an All-SEC First Team selection as both a sophomore and junior.

Tracy McGrady has retired from NBA

Tracy McGrady retires from NBA

Seven-time All-Star Tracy McGrady announced his retirement from the NBA on Monday.

McGrady, who won two scoring titles, told ESPN that it was time to move on.

“It’s been 16 years playing the game I love,” he said. “I’ve had a great run, but it’s time for it to come to an end.”

McGrady, 34, played in China last season before signing with the San Antonio Spurs during the playoffs. He played six postseason games for San Antonio.

McGrady was the ninth pick in the 1997 draft out of high school and the NBA’s Most Improved Player award winner in 2001.

Reported by the Sports Xchange 

Whether he was pouring in 13 points in 35 seconds for Houston in 2004 or sitting on the bench and watching the San Antonio Spurs win another playoff game in June without needing him, that cool expression rarely changed. It all looked almost too easy for McGrady, even if it rarely was.

McGrady announced his retirement from the NBA on Monday, ending a 16-year career that included two scoring titles, seven All-Star appearances, injuries to his knee and back and zero playoff series wins while he was leading the way. The straight-from-high school project who blossomed into a dominant, two-way superstar will always be remembered, too, as a player who struggled with injuries.

”Thank all of you who have supported me over 16 NBA seasons, 7 All-Stars, and countless exciting moments,” McGrady tweeted on Monday morning. ”Retiring from NBA. Stay tuned.”

McGrady didn’t rule out continuing his career overseas, perhaps in China where he played last season.

Reported by Jon Krawczynski of the Associated Press

“Officially retired from the NBA. Door’s still open,” replied McGrady, who played for the Qingdao Eagles in the Chinese Basketball Association during the 2012-13 season before his last NBA hurrah with the Spurs.

Often bracketed with Kobe Bryant and Vince Carter as the best players of his generation, McGrady played for the Toronto Raptors, Orlando Magic, Houston Rockets, New York Knicks, Detroit Pistons, Atlanta Hawks and the Spurs during his NBA career.

A six-foot nine-inch shooting guard who could shoot or pass with devastating effect, he was the league’s scoring champion in 2003 and 2004 and an All-Star for seven consecutive years, from 2001 to 2007.

Reported by Reuters

Jeremy Lin

Jeremy Lin says he’s looking forward to pairing up with the Houston Rockets’ newly acquired star Dwight Howard.

Lin told reporters Sunday on a visit to Beijing that he saw a natural affinity in the pair’s affection for the pick-and-roll game.

“We’re not yet in Houston and haven’t trained together so I don’t know yet,” said the 25-year-old point guard, who was in China to oversee a basketball camp.

“But he really likes to play pick-and-roll and I really like to play pick-and-roll, so I hope we can work really well together and really happily learn how to play with each other,” Lin said.

Reported by the Associated Press

Jeremy Lin

One NBA scout thinks there may be brighter days ahead for Lin.

The veteran scout thinks Lin, who signed a three-year, $25 million deal with the Rockets after a breakout 2011-12 with the Knicks, could thrive this season, thanks to the addition of Dwight Howard.

“He did have a ton of success when it was all pick-and-rolls and he seemed to be very effective [with the Knicks],” the scout said. “In that way, I think teaming up with Howard should be in his wheelhouse.

“I think they could develop chemistry right away.”

Both Howard and Lin have a history of success in the pick-and-roll.

Reported by Ian Begley of ESPN New York

Stoudemire not returning to Hakeem Olajuwon camp in Houston

The Knicks have decided rest is more important for Amar’e Stoudemire than “The Dream Shake’’ and wisdom of Hakeem Olajuwon.

Stoudemire will not return to the Olajuwon camp in Houston to work on his post moves again this month as had been planned, The Post has learned.

Stoudemire had planned to return to Texas to refine the post moves he learned last summer. That Olajuwon is about to be named to the Rockets staff as instructor for Dwight Howard and Omar Asik is not a factor in Stoudemire not attending.

According to a Rockets source, Houston is allowing Olajuwon to fulfill any of his prior commitments with opposing players this month before he exclusively works with Rockets big men. Hence, Stoudemire might never work with Olajuwon again.

Reported by Marc Berman of the New York Post

Houston Rockets forward Terrence Jones was arrested in Portland, Ore., on Wednesday after he was seen stomping on a homeless man’s leg, a police spokesman said.

A police sergeant making sure people remained orderly while they left a downtown club shortly after 2 a.m. saw the 6-foot-9 Jones walk by a doorway where two homeless men were sleeping and yell “Wake Up!” before lifting his foot and stomping on one man’s leg, said Sgt. Pete Simpson, a Portland police spokesman.

Jones, 21, was booked into the Multnomah County Jail on a misdemeanor harassment charge. He was later released on his own recognizance.

Reported by the Associated Press

marcus camby

Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey announced today that the team has re-signed unrestricted free agent center Marcus Camby.

With center Dwight Howard now in a Rockets uniform, Camby will likely be called upon to play very limited backup minutes off the bench, as a rebounder and defender.

Camby (6-11, 240, Massachusetts), who was previously acquired by Houston from the Portland Trail Blazers on Mar. 15, 2012, averaged 7.1 points, 9.3 rebounds and 1.53 blocks in 19 games (13 starts) with the Rockets in 2011-12. He was sent by Houston to the New York Knicks in a sign-and-trade on July 11, 2012. Camby, who appeared in 24 outings and three playoff games with the Knicks in 2012-13, was traded to the Toronto Raptors on July 10, 2013, and subsequently waived on July 17.

Overall, Camby owns career averages of 9.5 points, 9.8 rebounds, 2.40 blocks and 0.99 steals in 973 games (786 starts) with Toronto (1996-98), New York (1998-2002, 2012-13), the Denver Nuggets (2002-08), the L.A. Clippers (2008-10), Portland (2010-12) and Houston (2011-12). Heading into his 18th NBA campaign, Camby returns to the Rockets ranked 12th all-time on the NBA’s career list for blocked shots (2,331) and 13th all-time in blocks per game (2.40). He was voted the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year in 2006-07 and is a four-time NBA All-Defensive Team selection, earning First-Team accolades twice (2006-07 and 2007-08) and Second-Team two times (2004-05 and 2005-06). Camby also stands as the NBA’s seventh-active leading rebounder (9.8). He was originally selected by the Raptors with the second overall pick in the 1996 NBA Draft, going on to earn First-Team NBA All-Rookie honors in 1996-97.

Veteran center Marcus Camby returning to Houston Rockets

Even in July, in a match up against Eastern Conference contenders, homecourt advantage served the Rockets well. But it took more than that for the Rockets to bring back veteran center Marcus Camby.

In a measure of how much the Rockets have changed, becoming a potential contender themselves, a year after the Rockets let Camby head out of town in part of their transformation to the NBA’s youngest team, he will return to his adopted hometown to rejoin a team so radically transformed that he once again should fit in with a team’s win-now approach.

Camby chose to sign with the Rockets as a free agent, a person with knowledge of the decision said, to play for team far more prepared to compete than the team he left as a free agent last summer. A longtime resident of Pearland, Camby also considered the Chicago Bulls and Miami Heat.

Camby will sign a veteran’s minimum, worth $1.4 million next season.

Reported by Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle (Blog)

Houston Rockets re-sign Aaron Brooks, sign Reggie Williams

Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey announced today that the team has re-signed guard Aaron Brooks to a one-year deal and have inked unrestricted free agent guard Reggie Williams to a multi-year contract.

Brooks (6-0, 161, Oregon) returned for his fifth season with the Rockets in 2012-13, averaging 1.4 points and 0.9 assists in seven games with Houston. Originally selected by the Rockets in the first round (26th overall) of the 2007 NBA Draft, Brooks has averaged 11.6 points and 3.4 assists in 325 games (149 starts) with Houston, the Phoenix Suns and the Sacramento Kings. He was named the 2009-10 NBA Most Improved Player after finishing first in the NBA in 3-pointers made (.398, 209-525 3FG) and setting the franchise single-season record for treys. Brooks became just the sixth player in NBA history to make at least 200 3-pointers (209) and dish out 400 or more assists (434) in the same season. In addition to earning NBA Rookie of the Month honors for 2007 NBA Summer League, Brooks played in two games with the D-League Rio Grande Valley Vipers in 2007-08.

Williams (6-6, 205, Virginia Military Institute) has averaged 8.6 points, 2.7 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 20.0 minutes per game over 177 career outings (32 starts) with the Golden State Warriors and Charlotte Bobcats. He entered the NBA as a GATORADE Call-Up from the NBA D-League’s Sioux Falls Skyforce, signing the first of two 10-day contracts with the Warriors on Mar. 2, 2010. Williams appeared in 24 games for Golden State his rookie season, averaging 15.2 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.8 assists in 32.6 minutes per outing. In his 10 starts in 2009-10, he averaged 16.1 points, 5.6 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 1.3 steals in 41.5 minutes. He appeared in a career-high 80 games (nine starts) for the Warriors in 2010-11, averaging 9.2 points, 2.7 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 20.3 minutes per contest. He also ranked ninth in the NBA in 3-point field goal percentage (.423, 102-241 FG) during the 2010-11 campaign. Williams signed with the Bobcats as a free agent on Dec. 15, 2011, appearing in 73 games (13 starts) over his two seasons in Charlotte.

Prior to the NBA, Williams appeared in 30 games for JDA Dijon Bourgogne in France’s ProA league, averaging 12.5 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.6 assists in 29.0 minutes in 2008-09. As a collegian, he appeared in 112 career games over four seasons at VMI, averaging 22.8 points, 7.8 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.5 steals. Williams actually led the nation in scoring his junior (28.1) and senior (27.6) seasons, becoming the ninth player in NCAA Division I history to lead the country in scoring in multiple campaigns. He finished his collegiate career as the all-time leading scorer in both VMI and Big South Conference history with 2,556 points. Williams was named First-Team All-Big South as a junior and senior, as well as earning Second-Team All-Big South honors as a sophomore.

Rockets have interest in Marcus Camby, Mike Miller

In an expected strategy shift from last season’s emphasis on young prospects, the Rockets are interested in veterans Marcus Camby and Mike Miller, a person with knowledge of the team’s thinking said Wednesday.

The 6-11 Camby, who finished the 2011-12 season with the Rockets and had hoped to finish his career in his adopted hometown, reached a buyout agreement with the Raptors on Wednesday. Camby, 39, went from the Rockets to the Knicks last summer in a sign-and-trade deal when the Rockets chose to rebuild around young players. He was sent to Toronto in the New York trade for Andrea Bargnani with two seasons and $7.5 million left on his contract.

The 6-8 Miller, who helped the Heat to consecutive NBA titles, was waived by Miami under the amnesty provision.

Reported by Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle

Houston Rockets sign Omri Casspi

Houston Rockets sign Omri Casspi

Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey announced today that the team has signed unrestricted free agent forward Omri Casspi from the Cleveland Cavaliers to a multi-year deal.

Casspi (6-9, 225, Israel), who was the NBA’s first Israeli-born first-round pick, has averaged 7.9 points, 3.9 rebounds and 1.0 assists over 256 career games (94 starts) with Sacramento and Cleveland. Originally selected by the Kings in the first round (23rd overall) of the 2009 NBA Draft, Casspi was acquired by the Cavaliers in a trade on June 30, 2011. He had his best season in 2009-10, averaging 10.3 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 25.1 minutes per game over 77 outings (31 starts) with the Kings.

As a starter during his rookie campaign, Casspi posted averages of 12.2 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 30.6 minutes per contest.

Prior to the NBA, Casspi played with Hapoel Galil Elyon and Maccabi Tel Aviv in the Israeli Premier League. He actually finished fourth in voting for the 2008-09 FIBA European Young Men’s Player of the Year Award (Ricky Rubio, Danilo Gallinari and Kosta Koufos).

The Philadelphia 76ers announced today that they have claimed swingman James Anderson and center Tim Ohlbrecht off waivers.  Both players were waived by Houston on July 15.

Anderson (6-6, 215) was originally the 20th overall pick by San Antonio in the 2010 NBA Draft.  In three NBA seasons with the Spurs and Rockets, Anderson has appeared in 116 games with six starts, averaging 3.7 points, 1.5 rebounds and 0.9 assists in 11.1 minutes per game.

This past season, Anderson was a member of Atlanta’s training camp and preseason roster before being waived prior to the start of the regular season.  After a brief stint with the Rio Grande Vipers in the D-League, Anderson signed with the Spurs on Nov. 21 and appeared in 10 games before being waived on Dec. 20.  The 24-year-old returned to the Vipers before being signed by the Rockets for the remainder of the season on Jan. 2.

As a junior at Oklahoma State in 2009-10, Anderson ranked sixth in the nation in scoring with 22.3 points per game and was named the unanimous Big 12 Player of the Year.  He started 99 of a possible 101 games during his collegiate career and never missed a game.

Ohlbrecht (6-11, 255) was not selected in the 2010 NBA Draft.  The native of Germany has several years of experience playing professionally in the German Bundesliga and has been of member of the German National Team since 2008.

This past season, Ohlbrecht joined Rio Grande Valley in the D-League and averaged 13.4 points, 7.4 rebounds, 1.63 blocks and 1.13 steals in 26.6 minutes per game while shooting 60.5% from the floor and 81.1% from the line.  The 24-year-old was named to the 2013 NBA D-League All-Star Game and posted a double-double with 12 points and a game-high 12 rebounds.

Ohlbrecht was called up by the Rockets on Feb. 25 and appeared in three games.  He returned to the Vipers for the D-League playoffs and helped lead the team to the championship.

Dwight Howard says it was tough to play with Kobe Bryant

“Was it tough playing with Kobe?” Howard said in a recent interview with ESPN. “Yeah, it was very tough. But playing along with Kobe didn’t have any parts in my decision going to Houston. I just felt like going to Houston was a better situation for me in my career.”

Howard believes Rockets coach Kevin McHale will feature him in a larger offensive role in the post than Mike D’Antoni would. He believes James Harden will play with more efficiency and better health than Steve Nash would. Howard believes it will be easier leading a team lacking with championship tradition than playing on a team steeped with it but Bryant still controlling the agenda.

“Me and Kobe, we had our disagreements and we had our moments,” Howard said. “Everbody knows Kobe likes to score. There were times we would get at it about getting the ball. That happens as a team. But my focus cannot be on Kobe in what he did. I have to look at myself and say I allowed that situation to happen. I could get those balls and do whatever I want because I’m capable of doing it. I can’t blame anybody else for things I’ve done on the court. I would have to own up to it.”

Reported by Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News (Blog)

Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey announced today that the team has signed second-round draft pick guard Isaiah Canaan (pronounced Cannon). In addition, the Rockets have come to terms with rookie free agents forward Robert Covington and guard B.J. Young.

In addition, the Rockets announced that the team has waived guard/forward James Anderson and center Tim Ohlbrecht.

Canaan (6-0, 188, Murray State) was selected by the Rockets with the 34th overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft. He played in 132 career games over four seasons at Murray State, averaging 15.5 points, 2.9 assists and 2.8 rebounds. Overall, Canaan scored over 2,000 points in his collegiate career (2,050) while shooting 304-of-725 (.419) from beyond the arc. He was named Ohio Valley Conference Player of the Year as a junior and OVC Co-Player of the Year as a senior. The Biloxi, Mississippi native also earned Honorable Mention All-America honors from the Associated Press as a senior after ranking first on team in scoring (21.8 ppg), assists (4.3 apg) and steals (1.5 spg). Canaan, who scored in double figures in all 31 games in 2012-13, netted a season-high 35 points against Morehead. He added 22 points, a career-high 10 assists and nine rebounds against Belmont State. As a junior, Canaan also ranked first on team in scoring (19.0 ppg) and assists (3.6 apg).

Covington (6-9, 215, Tennessee State) was a member of the Rockets 2013 Orlando Pro Summer League, where he averaged 12.4 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.40 steals in five games (two starts). Undrafted in the 2013 NBA Draft, Covington averaged 14.8 points, 7.4 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 1.3 blocks in 118 career games over four seasons at Tennessee State. He finished his career seventh all-time in school history with 1,750 points and seventh in rebounds with 876. Covington was named Second Team All-OVC as a senior and sophomore, while earning First Team All-OVC honors as a junior. He was also named to the Ohio Valley Conference All Newcomer Team as a freshman. As a senior in 2012-13, he ranked first on team in scoring (17.0 ppg), steals (2.2 spg) and blocks (1.7 bpg), while ranking second in rebounds (8.0 rpg). Covington was also first on the team in scoring (17.9 ppg), rebounds (7.9 rpg), steals (1.6 spg) and blocks (1.4 bpg) as a junior in 2011-12.

Young (6-3, 180, Arkansas), who also played with the Rockets at the 2013 Orlando Pro Summer League, averaged 11.8 points on 16-of-31 (.516) shooting from the field over four games with Houston. Young was an early entry candidate for the 2013 NBA Draft, but did not hear his name called on draft night. He played in 63 career games over his two-year career at Arkansas, posting a career average of 15.2 points. Young earned Second-Team All-SEC honors as a sophomore and freshman. He was also named to the SEC All-Freshman Team. He ranked first on the team in scoring (15.2 ppg), assists (3.4 apg) and minutes played (27.9 mpg), while finishing third in rebounding (3.5 rpg) as a sophomore in 2012-13. As a freshman in 2011-12, he ranked second on team in scoring (15.2 ppg) and third in assists (2.3 apg). Young was the leading scorer among freshmen in the SEC and was given the team Offensive Player of the Year award by the Razorback coaches in 2011-12.

Having awoken to find that their signing of Dwight Howard was not all a dream, the Rockets were close Sunday to bringing The Dream back to the organization.

Hakeem Olajuwon, a key part of the Rockets’ recruiting efforts to land Howard and a large part of the festivities on Saturday after Howard signed, will rejoin the Rockets in an official capacity for the first time since he spent the final season of his career with the Toronto Raptors.

Olajuwon’s duties and title are still being discussed and he will continue to spend much of the year at his home in Jordan. But he will work with the Rockets interior players, as he does with big men around the NBA each off season, as a team employee.

“We are going to bring him in as full time as is possible,” Rockets general manager Daryl Morey said on Sunday. “It’s not done, but we have mutual interest to get it done and we’ve have some early discussions. We want him to work with Dwight and Omer (Asik) and he wants to do that.”

Reported by Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle

Rockets trade Royce White to 76ers

Rockets trade Royce White to 76ers

Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey announced today that the team has traded forward Royce White, the draft rights to Turkish forward Furkan Aldemir (four-KAHN ahl-DEE-meer) and cash considerations to the Philadelphia 76ers for future draft considerations. 

White (6-8, 260, Iowa State) was selected by Houston with the 16th overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft. While not seeing action with the Rockets in 2012-13, White averaged 11.4 points, 5.7 rebounds and 3.3 assists in 16 games (eight starts) with the D-League Rio Grande Valley Vipers.

So far, the start of White’s NBA career has revolved more around his anxiety problem and his difficulty with flying in airplanes and other issues than his actual ability to play basketball. Due to his disorder, his future in the league remains unclear at this time.

Aldemir (6-10, 230, Turkey), who was originally selected by the L.A. Clippers in the second round (53rd overall) in the 2012 NBA Draft, had his draft rights acquired by Houston as part of a four-team trade on June 29, 2012.

Rockets trade Thomas Robinson to Trail Blazers

The Portland Trail Blazers have acquired forward Thomas Robinson from the Houston Rockets in exchange for the NBA rights to Kostas Papnikolaou and Marko Todorovic along with two future second round picks, it was announced today by General Manager Neil Olshey.

Robinson, 22, is entering his second NBA season after averaging 4.8 points, 4.1 rebounds and 15.1 minutes in 70 games with Sacramento (51 games) and Houston (19 games) in 2012-13.

“Thomas is a dynamic young big man with tremendous upside,” said Olshey. “He is an elite athlete and brings a unique set of physical tools to our roster. He has the potential to be one of the best young power forwards in the league and his development will be a priority for us.”

Drafted by Sacramento with the fifth overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, Robinson (6-10, 237) played three seasons at Kansas, where he averaged 17.1 points (50.5%), 11.9 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.08 steals and 31.8 minutes in 39 games his junior year. A consensus First Team All-American in 2011-12, he earned the Big 12 Conference Player of the Year Award as a junior.

steve nash

Even going into their meeting with Dwight Howard to convince him to re-sign, Lakers point guard Steve Nash thought Howard re-signing was unlikely.

“Frankly, I thought before the meeting that we really didn’t have a chance,” said Nash on the “Mason & Ireland Show” on ESPN L.A. (710) on Tuesday. “I’d like to think that after the meeting, we had a chance, but ultimately, I think Dwight wasn’t comfortable here and didn’t want to be here.”

Nash was part of the Lakers’ contingent last week that tried to sway Howard to stay. Instead, the All-Star center chose to join the Houston Rockets as a free agent.

“If he doesn’t want to be here, there’s no point for anyone in him being here, so we wish him the best and move on,” Nash said. “I heard he said to the media that he ever quite felt embraced in L.A.  He never quite felt maybe supported, and that’s basically it.  In some ways you can read into that what you will.”

Reported by Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times

Dwight Howard

Dwight Howard downplayed Kobe Bryant’s pitch as a reason for leaving the Lakers for Houston and claimed he was already a winner in an interview with The Times’ T.J. Simers.

In the Lakers’ meeting with Howard on Tuesday, Bryant reportedly told Howard he should listen to Bryant more often to learn how to become a champion.

“People twisted a lot of things he said,” Howard said Friday night. “I haven’t won a championship but I’m in the NBA. That’s winning. I’m blessed to be able to play this game, blessed to come out of back surgery. Winning isn’t all about just having a championship, but winning in life. Kobe never challenged that and nothing he said had anything to do with my decision. I respect Kobe, know who he is, but this is about me and going in a different direction.”

Reported by Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times

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