| 4 years ago||
Kobe Told Team USA Teammates Dwight Was Coming A Month Before It Happened
|DALLAS – Kobe Bryant isn't one to mince words. His trash-talking style on the court is legendary and his sense of humor is as dry as it gets. So when Bryant told his Team USA teammates during Olympic training in early July that Dwight Howard would be traded to the Lakers, there were plenty of skeptics.
Howard had several suitors at that point, but Bryant's prediction still stayed in the back of Kevin Durant's mind. Bryant's words eventually became reality as Howard was dealt to the Lakers from the Orlando Magic in a four-team blockbuster trade on Aug. 10.
"Kobe called that a month before it happened," Durant told Yahoo! Sports while promoting his new movie "Thunderstruck."
"I didn't believe him. He was just like, 'We are going to have Dwight. We are going to have Steve Nash.' He just talks a lot of trash, jokes and laughs. But he said it. I don't think anyone paid attention to it but me and him. He said it and it happened. And they got better, a lot better.
"Dwight's name was being thrown on every team. Houston, Brooklyn, the Lakers. But I guess he called it right."
With his focus on an Olympic gold medal at the time of that trade, Durant initially declined to discuss how the Lakers' moves could affect the Thunder's hopes of returning to the NBA Finals next season. But now that he's back home with a gold medal in hand, Durant says the "confident" Thunder are looking forward to the challenge posed by the new-look Lakers next season.
"People outside, fans, media, of course they are going to say [the Lakers are the favorites] because on paper they have the best lineup in the league. But you still got to play the games. We respect everybody. We are going to go through the league respecting everybody as well.
"We already view ourselves as an elite team, but we have to prove it again. Last year is over with."
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[pic - click to view] Kevin Durant: Lakers impressive on 'paper' - Yahoo! Sports