Sports

Bryant video stirs controversy

LOS ANGELES - Intentional or not, Kobe Bryant seems to be doing everything he can to pressure the Los Angeles Lakers into trading him.

So far, it doesn't appear to be working.

The latest twist in the Bryant saga involves an amateur video of the nine-time All-Star denouncing general manager Mitch Kupchak and teammate Andrew Bynum.

Lakers spokesman John Black said the team was contacted about the video before Bryant first requested to be traded on May 30.

"It doesn't change our stance at all," Black said a day after saying essentially the same thing - that the team has no plans to trade the two-time defending NBA scoring champion.

"These people called us about a month ago, they told us they wanted to sell it, we told them we had no interest in buying it," Black said.

"That's the end of the story. There's been no further contact between them and us."

Kupchak declined further comment, saying, "I think enough has been said."

A spokesman for the men trying to peddle the video to media outlets told the New York Times they were talking with Bryant when one decided to take a photograph and some video, but they didn't believe Bryant was aware they were filming.

According to the Times, the video lasts 24 seconds - an interesting coincidence since Bryant wears No. 24 and his personal web site is www.kb24.com.

The Lakers passed up a possible opportunity to acquire star guard Jason Kidd from the New Jersey Nets at the trade deadline in February because they didn't want to part with the 19-year-old Bynum - a 7-footer taken with the 10th overall pick in the draft two years ago.

"Are you kidding me?" Bryant says in the video before using several profanities in adding that the Lakers should "ship out" Bynum.

Bryant also spoke in negative tones about Kupchak. Bryant called the Lakers' front office "a mess" in a radio interview the day before first making public his desire to be traded.

n Former SuperSonic arrested on alcohol charge: Former NBA All-Star Vin Baker, whose 14-year career was marred by bouts of depression and alcoholism, was charged early Tuesday in Norwich, Conn., with drunken driving after leaving a casino.

The 35-year-old Baker was spotted driving erratically after leaving Foxwoods Resort Casino, according to a state police report. He failed a sobriety test and was charged with driving while impaired.

State police spokesman Lt. J. Paul Vance described Baker's demeanor as cooperative. Baker's agent, Charles Grantham, said he hasn't talked to his client and declined comment.

Baker played five seasons with the Sonics from 1997 through the 2002-03 season.

A four-time All-Star forward, once with the Sonics, Baker averaged 15.0 points and 7.4 rebounds in the NBA.

Baker's alcoholism forced the Boston Celtics to cut him midway through the 2003-04 season. He later admitted drinking in his hotel room after playing poorly and showing up to practice with alcohol on his breath. Baker was released on $500 bond and was due in court June 26.

n Lakers owner Buss faces misdemeanors: Los Angeles Lakers owner Jerry Buss is facing two misdemeanor counts of driving under the influence in connection with his arrest last month.

The 74-year-old was taken into custody May 29 after he drove his gold Mercedes-Benz station wagon the wrong way on a street in an unincorporated section of Carlsbad that has double yellow lines, the California Highway Patrol said.

The district attorney's office filed one count each of driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs and driving with a blood-alcohol level of .08 percent or greater against Buss, it said Tuesday.

The complaint alleges that Buss was under the influence of an unspecified drug but refused to take a chemical test.

Buss was arrested after failing a field sobriety test.

n Appeals court dismisses Sprewell's libel suit: A state appeals court in Manhattan dismissed former basketball star Latrell Sprewell's libel suit against the New York Post over the newspaper's account of how he broke his finger nearly five years ago. The 5-0 ruling by the state Supreme Court's Appellate Division reversed a lower court ruling that said Sprewell's case could proceed.

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