Kobe Bryant's battle with his mother was one of the low lights of an active week for the Los Angeles Lakers following their elimination from the NBA playoffs.
After crashing out of the playoffs and a couple days of exit interviews, the Lakers faded off the front pages and into the shadows. Trust that Dwight Howard and the Lakers will dominate headlines after the playoffs—hopefully not for too long—but that story awaits the big man’s return from isolated meditation. While Howard searches for a moment of clarity, the Lakers have been doing more than just drinking fresh juice drinks by the beach.
The day after Howard stepped away from the podium and into the offseason, the torn labrum in his right shoulder was examined by Dr. James Tibone. Good news, Tibone did not deem there to be any need for an operation, so Howard avoided going under the knife this summer. Yes, the Lakers have started the off-season with positive injury news: curse broken?
Considering how anti-surgery Howard remained throughout the season and his demeanor when discussing the possibility of shoulder surgery, one has to believe D12 was jumping for joy and flashing that $100 million smile after hearing the positive prognosis.
Elsewhere in Laker Land, some Kobe Bryant memorabilia drama with his mama made the rounds.
As that story settled down, the injured Mamba found a way to fly out his wife’s favorite Italian chef for her birthday. The chef’s name was Fabrizio de Togni, and he is the master chef for Paper Moon, Vanessa Bryant’s favorite restaurant in Milan, Italy.
Seriously, Mama Bryant, Monday night alone probably cost as much as you will personally make for all of Kobe’s paraphernalia. He’s not my son, but I would have considered talking to him about auctioning off all his childhood sports belongings. Money is not a major concern for a man who is scheduled to earn $30 million next season, one would imagine. After all, he flew out a master chef from Italy, and that was just his Monday.
Anyhow, returning to the business of basketball, Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni also stayed involved following his exit interview. D’Antoni trimmed down his coaching staff. Assistants Chuck Person and Bernie Bickerstaff handed in their suits at the request of the Lakers. With Eddie Jordan accepting the head coaching position at Rutgers, the Lakers assistants are now down to four assistants: Dan D’Antoni, Steve Clifford, Davin Ham, and Phil Handy.
Considering his brother is the head coach, Dan D’Antoni is likely not sweating his position. Clifford is scheduled to interview for the open head coaching position in Charlotte, so the staff may be down to three. Another addition on the defensive side of the ball would probably be welcomed by fans regardless of Clifford’s retention.
Both Ham and Handy serve as key hands-on player development coaches. These two are key personnel to warm up players, develop moves, impart knowledge, and do the dirty work on the floor in practice and before each game. For anyone who goes to Staples Center early, these are the guys passing balls, running drills, and working the players out in the hours leading up to tipoff. Ham was a bit more involved past player development, but both guys were positive people and did their jobs well.
Officially, however, the entire coaching staff remains under evaluation.