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Kobe: Rondo is “An A**hole Like Me”

Kobe Bryant and Rajon Rondo exchanged some strange compliments on Friday night.

Jessica Camerato

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Compliments shared between the rivaled Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers aren’t always easy to come by. Less than an hour before Rajon Rondo’s return from a nearly year-long ACL injury, Kobe Bryant offered up one only a true competitor could appreciate.

This season Rondo is the lone remaining player from the Celtics 2008 championship run and 2010 NBA Finals hunt, both against the Lakers. Bryant, who has been through a similar situation with his team, has confidence Rondo will handle the situation just fine.

“It’s frustrating. It’s frustrating,” Bryant said. “But from what I understand he’s an a**hole like me, so I think he’ll manage.”

When told of Bryant’s comment following the Lakers 107-104 win over the Celtics, Rondo responded with endearing praise of his own.

“I feel the same way about him,” said Rondo.

The fiercely competitive point guard continued, “But I think that’s what separates guys like Kobe and I. We’re great competitors, whatever it takes to win. I don’t like to lose in anything I do, whether it’s on the court or off the court. I hate to lose. I think that’s the way he approaches life or the game.”

If only they had their own line of Hallmark cards.

Jessica Camerato is a bilingual reporter who has been covering the NBA since 2006. She has also covered MLB, NHL and MLS. A graduate of Quinnipiac University, Jessica is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association and the Association for Women in Sports Media.

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Sources: Spurs ‘listening to inquiries’ on LaMarcus Aldridge, DeMar DeRozan, Rudy Gay, Trey Lyles, Patty Mills

Basketball Insiders

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The [San Antonio] Spurs are receiving calls on their veteran players who are pending free agents — LaMarcus Aldridge, DeMar DeRozan, Rudy Gay, Trey Lyles and Patty Mills — and are listening to inquiries, sources said. San Antonio is the sixth seed in the Western Conference at 18-13, blending its veterans and talented young core of Keldon Johnson, Dejounte Murray, Derrick White and Lonnie Walker IV.

Source: Shams Charania of The Athletic

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Sources: Celtics, Hornets Interested in Nikola Vucevic

Basketball Insiders

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The [Boston] Celtics and [Charlotte] Hornets are among teams interested in [Orlando] Magic two-time All-Star Nikola Vucevic, sources said. Rival teams expect that any haul for Vucevic would have to be massive. The 7-foot big man is having his best NBA season, averaging 24.5 points, 11.7 rebounds and 3.7 assists while shooting 41.8 percent from 3-point range. Vucevic has spent nine of his 10 NBA seasons in Orlando.

Source: Shams Charania of The Athletic

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Sources: Timberwolves Interested in John Collins, Aaron Gordon

Basketball Insiders

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Minnesota [Timberwolves] has shown interest in power forwards around the league, including Atlanta’s John Collins and Orlando’s Aaron Gordon, sources said. Both players have significant asking prices in the marketplace. The Timberwolves had substantive conversations with the Magic on Gordon prior to his severe ankle sprain last month, sources said, and those talks are expected to resume as he nears his return to the floor.

Source: Shams Charania of The Athletic

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