NBA News – October 7, 2009

Kobe contract talks

Amar’e Stoudemire Looks Sharp, Feels ‘Phenomenal’ in Preseason Opener

Griz notes: Iverson sits with hamstring injury

Kobe contract talks

The regular season starts in three weeks. Will Kobe Bryant have a contract extension by then?

A source close to the discussions, who was not authorized to speak publicly, indicated there had been productive meetings recently and that both sides were hopeful a deal would be done before the Lakers open up against the Clippers on Oct. 27.

Bryant, 31, will make $23 million this season and $24.8 million next season, though he can opt out of his contract next July.

On top of the $47.8 million he could earn over the next two seasons, Bryant can sign a three-year extension worth another $86 million to $91 million, depending on NBA salary-cap figures to be determined in 2011.,0,3680331.story

Amar’e Stoudemire Looks Sharp, Feels ‘Phenomenal’ in Preseason Opener

The last time Amar’e Stoudemire took the court against a meaningful opponent, he scored 42 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in a regular season game that took place over seven seven months ago. After undergoing multiple procedures to repair a partially detached retina in his right eye, Stoudemire made his return to competitive basketball in the Suns’ preseason opener against Partizan Belgrade.

At times, Stoudemire showed flashes of what we’re used to seeing from someone who was a starter on the Western conference All-Star team last season, and finished with 12 points and five rebounds in just 17 minutes of action. But both he and his head coach, Alvin Gentry, know that he’s still a long way from being all the way back.

"I think he looked okay, but he’s not anywhere close to where he’s going to be," Gentry said. "Conditioning-wise, he’s still a ways away, but he’s a lot further right now than where he was last week. So that’s a real good positive, and he played hard — I thought he was really engaged defensively and tried to do all the right things.

"It’s going to be a process; it’s not something that’s going to happen overnight."

Stoudemire played sparingly, in what was a sloppy game that featured a combined 56 turnovers. While his conditioning wasn’t necessarily where it needs to be to start the season, Stoudemire definitely played with a lot of energy, especially considering the fact that it’s been over seven months since he’s played ball against anyone other than his teammates.

Griz notes: Iverson sits with hamstring injury

Ronald Tillery

Allen Iverson will have an MRI today because of a strained left hamstring that forced him to sit out Tuesday when the Grizzlies began their exhibition schedule against the Washington Wizards.

Iverson’s preseason debut will be delayed again tonight as the veteran guard will miss the Grizzlies’ preseason home opener against Oklahoma City in FedExForum.

Iverson said this is the first time he has experienced a strained hamstring. His absence is not simply a precautionary measure.

"I can’t go," Iverson said. "If it was Game 7 of the (NBA) Finals, I wouldn’t be able to go."

Iverson tweaked the hamstring during Sunday’s scrimmage at the Grizzlies’ training camp in Birmingham. He didn’t practice Monday.

"I was dribbling the ball and tried to stop on a dime and I heard a little pop," Iverson said, adding that he’s disappointed by the timing of the injury. "I know a lot of people came to see me play and to not be able to go is frustrating and disheartening."

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