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Thursday, April 26, 2018

Kobe Bryant: I’m Not Sure What the Hell the Direction of the Lakers Is

Four years ago, Kobe Bryant was disappointed with the Lakers’ inability to surround him with a championship-quality roster and said he wanted to be traded. The Lakers responded by acquiring Pau Gasol in a trade, vaulting the franchise into three straight NBA Finals. GM Mitch Kupchak’s ability to pull off such an improbable trade inspired confidence in Kobe.

But after the Lakers traded Lamar Odom, and saw their trade for Chris Paul canceled by the NBA, Kobe is upset. Prominent reporters believe he may demand a trade, and Kobe did little to disguise his disappointment Thursday.

“I’m not sure what the hell the direction is, to be honest with you,” Kobe said after practice when asked if he was comfortable with the direction of the franchise. “It’s none of my business to really get into it. The way that they go about it is that they handle their business upstairs, and I find out about it later, which is fine.

“I think they’ve proven that they can build a team here that can compete for championships, and I’m sure they’re going to do that now. I don’t expect this to be a situation like it was in 2005 when they said ‘we’re just going to cut payroll, we’re just going to cut everything, and not contend for a championship.’ I don’t expect that to be the case. I expect them to still try to be aggressive and make moves to build a championship team, and if that’s the case, I will stand out of the way and let them do what they do.”

Kobe accepts that he’s a player and separate from the roster-building department, but that doesn’t mean he’s happy with it. He also says he’ll only stay out of the way if they’re aggressive.

I’ve said all along, and many people feel this way, that the Lakers must be saving up for something big. Whether it’s a trade for Dwight Howard, or something else, they have to have a plan. But if they don’t make a move soon, you can bet Kobe will continue to be unhappy, especially if the team gets off to a bad start.

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