Kobe Bryant Demanded Trade in 2007 to Publicly Embarrass Lakers Ownership
Kobe Bryant has expressed concerns about the way management is constructing the Lakers. He openly admitted that he did not like the Lamar Odom trade. He said he didn’t know what the hell the direction of the team was. There were even reports that he was livid with the front office and that he might demand a trade. Clearly there’s friction between Kobe and the front office, and it’s something he openly admitted recently.
“Hopefully, management knows what it’s doing and will provide us with our missing pieces,” Bryant said to the New York Post. “Hey, I’m just a player. I have no input concerning anything that happens here. In fact, I learned we’d hired our coach from reading it online. I can’t remember the last time I had a conversation with Jimmy [Buss, managing owner]. Occasionally, I’ll cross paths with Mitch [Kupchak, general manager] and we’ll speak for a couple minutes about nothing really.
“I’ve never known what’s going on. That’s why I went public [in May 2007] and demanded a trade. When it became obvious to me that management wasn’t trying to compete for a championship, I felt my only recourse was to embarrass [owner Jerry Buss] into doing it.”
We knew Kobe was upset that he didn’t have input regarding the team’s head coaching hire. But man, learning about the news by reading it online? That’s an odd way for the franchise player to find out about a significant team move.
His reason for demanding the trade in 2007 is also quite interesting. Rather than addressing matters with management (we’re led to believe), Kobe went public demanding a trade. He came off looking like a petulant child with his demands, but apparently there was some strategy to it. You just would hope a franchise player doesn’t feel like he needs to go public to get things to happen. In the end, Kobe is the one who came off looking embarrassed, not management. Management and ownership looked like geniuses because they got credit for the Pau Gasol trade — not Kobe.