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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: Victor Oladipo to Opt Out of NBA Restart

Basketball Insiders

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Indiana Pacers star Victor Oladipo has decided to sit out the resumed 2019-20 NBA season, telling The Athletic on Friday he can’t get his mind “to being fully comfortable” in playing.

“I really want to play, and as a competitor and teammate this is tearing me apart,” Oladipo said. “I feel like I’m at a great place in my rehab and getting closer and closer to 100 percent. With all the variables, from how I have to build my 5-on-5 workload back up, to the increased risk of a soft tissue injury which could delay my rehab, and the unknown exact set up of the bubble, I just can’t get my mind to being fully comfortable in playing. I have to be smart and this decision hasn’t been easy, but I truly believe continuing on the course I’m on and getting fully healthy for the 2020-21 season is the right decision for me.”

Oladipo has one year left on his four-year, $84 million deal with the Pacers. Sources said Oladipo plans to travel with the team to Orlando despite his decision to opt out of playing, and that he will continue his rehab, support his teammates and join them inside the bubble environment.

Source: Shams Charania of The Athletic

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Sources: NBA Expected to OK ‘second bubble’ in Chicago

Basketball Insiders

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The NBA is closing in on signing off on a second “bubble” in Chicago for the eight teams that were not invited to play in Orlando, enabling mini-training camps and subsequent games against other clubs with a target date of September, sources tell ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan.

Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter

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Sources: Zhaire Smith Out for NBA Restart with Bone Bruise in Left Knee

Basketball Insiders

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Philadelphia 76ers wing Zhaire Smith has a bone bruise in his left knee, per source. He will not travel to Orlando.

Smith began experiencing pain prior to the Sixers resuming workouts last week, and he started treatment immediately. He is expected to make a full recovery.

Source: Derek Bodner on Twitter

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