Following the Lakers’ decisive 103-92 victory over the Blazers on Monday night, Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher held a players-only locker room meeting that was undoubtedly called in response to the team’s recent handling of trade rumors that have abound the team this season. ESPN’s Chris Broussard has the details:
Their message was clear: Trade rumors do not matter; your feelings about management or the coaching staff don’t matter; all that matters is that the 14 men in that locker room support and believe in one another. If they stay together and stay on the same page, they can get to where they want to go as a team.
Following an embarrassing loss to the Suns on Sunday, Kobe notably lashed out against Lakers management for being indecisive on Pau Gasol’s future with the team.
Prior to Monday’s game, Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak released a statement that one could interpret as essentially saying, “Kobe, shut up. Gasol is still on the block.”
Broussard also writes that the meeting additionally covered problems that have arisen switching over from Phil Jackson’s coaching regime to Mike Brown’s, most notably unpredictable rotations and long practices.
Anytime you need to hold an emergency players-only meeting, things can’t be going well for your team. Obviously, the Lakers aren’t the elite team they used to be. But Kobe is right: If the Lakers think they can get better by trading Gasol, they should just get on with it. And also because of the fun that comes with ruffling Dan Gilbert’s feathers. The trade deadline is March 15.
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