Kobe Bryant and Rajon Rondo exchange compliments … kind of


BOSTON — Call it a love affair, NBA-style.

Before Friday’s Lakers-Celtics game at TD Garden, Kobe Bryant was asked what Rajon Rondo can expect to go through in the comi

ng years, as the team he helped lead twice to the Finals has been dismantled and begins rebuilding in earnest. Bryant went through much the same thing after the Lakers traded Shaquille O’Neal in 2005, falling into a rut before finally trading for Pau Gasol in 2008.

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Sporting a smile, Bryant said of Rondo, “From what I understand, he’s an a**hole like me, so he will manage.”

Of course, the Celtics are hoping Rondo — known for his sometimes prickly personality — manages his team’s rebuild better than Bryant did. Within two years of the O’Neal trade, Bryant was publicly demanding a trade, too, seeking to get out of Los Angeles and play for another team, particularly the Bulls.

Rondo, returning to action for the first time since tearing his ACL last January, said he was flattered by Bryant’s sentiment.

“That’s a great compliment coming from him,” Rondo said. “I feel the same way about him.”