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Kobe Bryant missed all but six games in 2013-14 due to injury. This forced him to watch as the Los Angeles Lakers set a franchise record for most losses since the team moved to Southern California (55, with one game left). Surprise: He wasn't happy, something he reiterated Wednesday on Twitter, while making a bold proclamation about next season:



Do you agree with Kobe's prediction?


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Lakers' front office a problem?

On the day it was confirmed that Kobe Bryant would miss the rest of the 2013-14 season, the Los Angeles Lakers star spoke in not-so-glowing terms about his team's front office. "I think we have to start at the top in terms of the culture of our team," Bryant said, referring to Jim and Jeanie Buss. Another Lakers legend, Magic Johnson, also hit out at the Lakers for not hiring the New York Knicks-bound Phil Jackson. Is the Lakers' front office to blame for the team's sorry state of affairs? Will they turn it around?

Who/what is most to blame for the Lakers' struggles this season?

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    10%
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    21%
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    56%
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    13%

Discuss (Total votes: 43,839)

  • Would Phil Jackson have been a franchise-changing addition to the Lakers' front office?

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      78%
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      22%

    Discuss (Total votes: 10,012)

  • Is Kobe Bryant done as an elite player?

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      72%
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      28%

    Discuss (Total votes: 95,181)

  • Will the Lakers acquire a superstar in the offseason?

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      12%
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      31%
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      22%
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      35%

    Discuss (Total votes: 9,450)

  • When will the Lakers next make the playoffs?

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      23%
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      35%
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      42%

    Discuss (Total votes: 9,285)

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On Thursday, LeBron James will be sporting more on his head than his usual headband. Because of the broken nose he suffered against the Oklahoma City Thunder, James will wear a protective face mask against the New York Knicks. Of course, this won't be the first time he has played in such a thing. He also donned one in 2005 when he played for the Cleveland Cavaliers. He also is far from the only NBA All-Star to wear a mask. Over the years, numerous big names have put these on their heads in games. We picked out 10 from the 1990s until now. Who wears it best?

Rank' Em: NBA's Masked Men

Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant

Worn: 2012

Richard Hamilton

Richard Hamilton

Worn: Most of career

Roy Hibbert

Roy Hibbert

Worn: 2012

Zydrunas Ilgauskas

Zydrunas Ilgauskas

Worn: 2004

Kyrie Irving

Kyrie Irving

Worn: 2013

LeBron James

LeBron James

Worn: 2005

Andrei Kirilenko

Andrei Kirilenko

Worn: 2005

Bill Laimbeer

Bill Laimbeer

Worn: 1990-92

Alonzo Mourning

Alonzo Mourning

Worn: 1998

Dennis Rodman

Dennis Rodman

Worn: 1994

Your Rankings

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ESPN Insider Kevin Pelton gave the Los Angeles Lakers an A for trading Steve Blake to the Golden State Warriors for MarShon Brooks, Kent Bazemore and, most importantly, money savings and lottery positioning. Lakers star Kobe Bryant, meanwhile, likely would not be so generous if forced to attach a letter to the move. A day after the trade, Bryant tweeted his displeasure, labeling the deal "not cool." A source told ESPN.com that this was meant to show support for Blake, not tweak the organization, but it's hard not to read a little anger into the missive.

Now, this is far from likely to create a rift between Bryant and the team that gave him a two-year, $48.5 million extension in November. But was Bryant still a little out of line?

Below is a sampling of the Facebook conversation on this story. Be sure and join in!


Together no more

Bryant and Blake are done teaming up.

SportsNation

How do you feel about Kobe Bryant saying he's "not cool" with the Steve Blake trade?

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    79%
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    21%

Discuss (Total votes: 43,747)

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Have Lakers lost their allure?

It's conventional wisdom in NBA circles that a free agent, any free agent, would want to play for the prestigious Los Angeles Lakers. The weather. The history. The celebs. Kobe, for at least a little while longer. Then again, things aren't looking so good for the team that once earned the nickname "Showtime."

A win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday got overshadowed by its bizarre finish, in which a little-known rule allowed Lakers center Robert Sacre to remain on the court despite having fouled out (the team had no other healthy players; it was assessed a technical foul). This bumped the Lakers all the way "up" to 17-32 on the year as they await word on Kobe Bryant's health ... and the possible relocation of free-agent-to-be Pau Gasol. Meanwhile, Magic Johnson says he'll happily make calls on his old team's behalf to lure prospective free agents. But shouldn't the team's reputation speak for itself?

  • If you were a top-level NBA free agent, would you want to sign with the Lakers right now?

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      37%
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      63%

    Discuss (Total votes: 106,548)

  • If you were a free agent, would a conversation with a legend such as Magic Johnson be able to affect your decision?

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      60%
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      40%

    Discuss (Total votes: 16,874)

  • What should the Lakers do with Pau Gasol, who is a free agent at the end of the season?

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      61%
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      29%
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      10%

    Discuss (Total votes: 16,167)

  • How many more seasons does Kobe Bryant have as an elite player?

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      48%
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      33%
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      19%

    Discuss (Total votes: 84,040)

  • How surprised are you about the Lakers' struggles this season?

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      5%
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      23%
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      72%

    Discuss (Total votes: 15,577)

  • How would you feel if you were a Lakers fan right now?

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      55%
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      45%

    Discuss (Total votes: 15,449)

  • When will the Lakers next make the playoffs?

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      22%
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      38%
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      40%

    Discuss (Total votes: 14,531)

  • What do you make of the rule that allows fouled-out players to stay on the court at the cost of a technical foul if no one else is available on the bench?

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      44%
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      18%
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      38%

    Discuss (Total votes: 14,191)

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