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NBA notes: Kobe Bryant still weeks away from returning to Lakers

Associated Press

Although Kobe Bryant is making steady progress in his recovery from a torn Achilles tendon, he’s still a few weeks away from playing for the Los Angeles Lakers.

Bryant is back with the Lakers after a short trip to Germany to get treatment on his right knee, another trouble area for the 35-year-old guard. He sat on Los Angeles’ bench for an exhibition game Tuesday night, and he’ll travel with the team to China later this week.

But the fourth-leading scorer in NBA history isn’t committing to any return date until he gets in shape and figures out how his legs will hold up when he’s back in uniform.

“I haven’t said anything [about a return date],” Bryant said. “I just keep it all open right now. I don’t know why you guys are so hell-bent on deadlines. It’s like the most ridiculous thing to me. It’s entertaining. When I’m ready, I’m ready.”

In other Lakers news, the team waived center Dan Gadzuric and center Eric Boateng, trimming the roster to 17 players.

Gadzuric signed with the Lakers on Sept. 27. The 10-year NBA veteran from UCLA spent last season in Venezuela.

Boateng is a British national team member. He has played in the NBA’s D-League and in Greece and Germany since leaving Arizona State in 2010.

Odom pleads not guilty

NBA player Lamar Odom pleaded not guilty to a misdemeanor count of driving under the influence in connection with his arrest in August.

Odom didn’t appear in court for the arraignment. His attorney entered the plea on his behalf. A pretrial hearing was set for Nov. 8.

The DUI charge against the 33-year-old former Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers player includes an allegation that Odom refused to take a chemical test. According to California law, motorists forfeit their licenses for a year if they refuse a breath or blood test.

He was arrested Aug. 30 after his Mercedes-Benz SUV was spotted weaving on a freeway in the Studio City section of Los Angeles.

The California Highway Patrol said Odom’s vehicle was observed traveling in a “serpentine manner.”

Odom remains free on $15,000 bail. The husband of reality TV star Khloe Kardashian could face six months in jail and a $1,000 fine if convicted.

Odom played for the Clippers last season. He is now a free agent.

Wolters adjusts to role

Nate Wolters isn’t used to coming off the bench.

He routinely played every minute starring at South Dakota State, after all. Now he’s a rookie fighting for playing time with the Milwaukee Bucks, coming back to South Dakota for the first time as a pro for an NBA preseason game against the Minnesota Timberwolves tonight.

Wolters said he’s ready to jump in and contribute when given the chance.

“I’ve never really not started my whole life, but that’s an adjustment I’ll have to make,” said Wolters, a St. Cloud, Minn., high school standout. “Whenever I get the opportunity to play, I’ll have to come in and bring energy right away.”

Wolters, 22, was drafted 38th overall in June by the Washington Wizards before being traded to the Philadelphia 76ers and eventually the Bucks.

Exhibition games

• Iman Shumpert scored 18 points and rookie Tim Hardaway Jr. had 10 of his 16 in the fourth quarter, including the go-ahead basket with less than 10 seconds to play, to lead the New York Knicks to a 103-102 preseason victory over the Boston Celtics in Providence, R.I.

• Anthony Davis scored 29 points and the New Orleans Pelicans remained unbeaten in three preseason games with a 99-95 victory over the Orlando Magic in Jacksonville, Fla.

• Kevin Love had 20 points and nine rebounds to lead the Minnesota Timberwolves to a 101-89 preseason win over the host Toronto Raptors. Nikola Pekovic had 12 points and eight rebounds for the Timberwolves and J.J. Barea added 12 points.



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