Kobe Bryant lasted only 12 minutes before he was relegated to the bench during… (Michael Conroy / Associated…)
Could Kobe Bryant end up going into coaching after his playing days are done?
"After a 12-minute appearance, testing his sore left ankle in Friday night's game in Indianapolis, Bryant molted into a bench assistant, directing teammates and even pulling out a grease board and diagraming plays." wrote former Times columnist Mark Heisler for The New York Times.
The Lakers pulled out a close 99-93 victory over the Pacers, the second-best team in the Eastern Conference.
Coach Mike D'Antoni said he didn't mind Bryant's contribution — with a caveat.
"You've just got to make sure he tells them the right things because he could be giving them different directions than I am," said D'Antoni. "That's not good — a little bit of a loose cannon."
While Bryant recently said he has an idea of what he'd like to do in retirement, he also said coaching is not on the list. The Lakers All-Star has one more year on his contract after this season. It's unclear whether he will re-sign, but Bryant has hinted the end may be near.
Bryant is day to day on both his stint as assistant coach and his actual NBA career. The Lakers hope he'll be able to play Friday night when the team hosts the Washington Wizards.
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Email Eric Pincus at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.