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#pounditTuesday, January 26, 2021

Kobe Bryant not interested in attending Lakers’ meetings with free agents

If the LA Lakers want to woo the likes of LeBron James, Paul George, and others this summer, they’ll have to do it without the presence of Kobe Bryant.

In a lengthy interview with Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype that ran on Tuesday, the retired Lakers great was asked if he would be willing to attend the team’s free-agent pitch meetings this offseason.

“Well, no,” Bryant replied. “I mean, I’ll call, but I’m not going to be in the meeting. Listen, I’m not part of the organization in any kind of professional way, right? If the players themselves have questions, [I’ll talk to them]. Or if the Lakers want me to reach out and call a player or something like that – if they want me to talk to the player and give my two cents on what it was like to play here and what this market is like – I’ll certainly do that.

“But in terms of being part of the meeting in any official way? The answer is no,” the former MVP added. “But [Lakers GM] Rob [Pelinka] and [president of basketball operations] Magic [Johnson] both have great flexibility when it comes to the cap and they have great young talent. And I’ve known Rob for a long time. This dude is as smart as they come, so he’ll figure it out.

While having Bryant in the room would no doubt boost the Lakers’ sales pitch, he does have a point in that he is no longer employed by the organization in any official capacity and is thus under no obligation to attend. Bryant is also more than willing to still offer his thoughts as they relate to potential free agent targets, which he has already been doing in a sense.

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