Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak offered a dour warning to Lakers fans wondering when they should plan to watch Kobe Bryant play in person.“If you’re looking to buy tickets three years from now, I would buy tickets now,” Kupchak told the L.A. News Group on Tuesday. Bryant’s $48.5 million contract will end after the 2015-16 season, and Kupchak believes that will mark the end of Bryant’s storied 20-year NBA career. His vast resume currently entails five NBA championships and a fourth-place standing on the league’s all-time scoring list. “Other than what he’s indicated to me and everybody else,” Kupchak said, “he’s not looking beyond this year or next year.” Last week, Lakers coach Byron Scott expressed optimism Bryant would play beyond his current contract for two reasons. Bryant entered the Lakers’ game on Tuesday against the Sacramento Kings at Staples Center averaging a league-leading 25.2 points per game. Scott also believed the Lakers’ front office would assemble their roster well enough in the next two offseasons to entice Bryant to stay. Bryant remained noncommittal last week. But he’s remained adamant as of this past summer that he would not play beyond his current contract, according to a source familiar with Bryant’s thinking. Still, Kupchak has enjoyed watching Bryant play, a lone bright spot in an otherwise sour season that entailed the Lakers beginning the 2014-15 season with their worst record in franchise history. Bryant also entered Tuesday’s game against the Sacramento Kings at Staples Center with 32,292 points, 66 points shy of surpassing Michael Jordan for third place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error “It’s terrific. Obviously our record takes away a lot of what he’s done,” Kupchak said of Bryant. “But we’re hopeful we can improve. But he’s proven that he can still play at a very high level, not only coming back from two severe injuries, but that he’s 36 years old.”Bryant played in only six games last season because of injuries to his left Achilles tendon and left knee. But Kupchak still maintained Bryant would return to top form, the first sign entailing Bryant having surgery the following day after shredding his left Achilles on April 12, 2013. Still, Bryant has shot a career-low 38.9 percent from the field. He has also has taken 465 of the Lakers’ 1,816 field-goal attempts.“I’m not worried about that,” Kupchak said. “As our team will improve, everybody’s percentages will improve. Right now as a team, I’m not sure we’re coming close to leading the league in any department.” AlsoThe NBA granted the Lakers a hardship exception to field a 16-player roster, but the Lakers failed to add a player within the league’s two-day deadline. The Lakers currently do not plan to re-apply for the exception.
‘There is a human element to it’: Carli Lloyd explains consoling Thai goalkeeper after USWNT blowout
After the final whistle sounded on Tuesday, putting an end to a game in which the U.S. women’s national team decimated Thailand 13-0, Carli Lloyd didn’t immediately celebrate with her teammates.Instead, she went to Thailand goalkeeper Sukanya Chor Charoenying, consoling her after a game in which she was on the wrong end of the heaviest defeat in World Cup history. Lloyd said she was unsure if Charoenying understood everything that she said on the pitch but in a Twitter post on Thursday, it was clear that the message came through for the goalkeeper.“Thanks so much, Lloyd,” the goalkeeper wrote. “Your words that you told me make me strong. Keep going for this tournament and so on. Firstly, I felt disappointment in worst situation but this is the biggest experience in my life.”All you can do is give it your best each and every day. Keep fighting and never give up!! Still 2 more games to play. 😊 https://t.co/pFW4wEK8Nb— Carli Lloyd (@CarliLloyd) June 13, 2019Lloyd responded, saying: “All you can do is give it your best each and every day. Keep fighting and never give up!! Still 2 more games to play.” The USWNT was rampant in Reims, particularly in a 10-goal second half, as it began its World Cup in breathtaking fashion.The team has faced criticism for its celebrations after a handful of its goals, but several players also consoled Thailand players after the game, with many of the Asian nation’s players in tears following its extremely heavy defeat.Lloyd was one of the U.S. players to offer words of encouragement and, on Friday, she shed more light on her desire to speak with Charoenying after the final whistle in Reims.“After the game I felt for her and wanted to go up to her and it wasn’t something where I needed the whole world to see,” Lloyd said.But the world did see her gesture, which Lloyd said came from her natural inclination to offer support to a player who clearly needed a lift.“Obviously I’m a player and this team is full of players who want to battle it out, who want to go full throttle, but we are human and there is a human element to it.“You’ve got to feel for a goalkeeper letting in 13 goals, if you don’t then I don’t think you have much of a heart.”The U.S. forward, who scored the 13th and final goal of the evening, is hopeful that her team’s vanquished rivals can turn things around in its remaining group-stage games against Sweden and Chile.“I think that’s what the sport is all about, in the wins and losses I think character is a true component in the sport,” Lloyd said.“It was cool, I hope they continue to put their head up, continue to fight and just keep going.”