Bryant finally debuts with U.S. team, stays quiet about Lakers

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LAS VEGAS (AP) – Kobe Bryant has nothing bad to say about his new team.

As for his feelings about the Los Angeles Lakers, Bryant wasn’t interested in clearing that up.

While admitting that he felt bad about the way he voiced his frustrations with the Lakers, Bryant didn’t want to add much further Friday following his first practice with the U.S. national team.

“I understand the interest in the situation, and when the time is right, I’ll be more than glad to address those questions,” Bryant said.

“Right now we have a lot to accomplish here with this team and I don’t want to detract from that or be a distraction with that.”

Bryant was critical of the Lakers’ front office for failing to build a championship contender and asked for a trade during an interview with ESPN Radio on May 30.

He initially seemed to back off that in a different interview later that day and hasn’t spoken much since, so it’s unclear if the two-time league scoring champion still wants to leave the only NBA team he has played for.

Bryant agreed that he seemed to send a mixed message, and said it was his frustrations that caused him to publicly criticize the team and general manager Mitch Kupchak.

And after speaking with owner Dr. Jerry Buss, he determined his best move was to keep team matters private from now on.

Bryant is the biggest upgrade for the U.S. team that finished third in the world championships last year. He joins Chauncey Billups and Jason Kidd in a backcourt that should be a strength of the team.


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