In the space of a few quick days, the Lakers went from having the greatest backcourt in N.B.A. history and plotting to regain their championship swagger, to a former champion struggling to convince themselves they can get back in the title hunt.
And Kobe doesn’t like it. He’s calling BS on the Commissioner’s explanation for nixing the Chris Paul trade, and he doesn’t get why the Lakers would trade away Lamar Odom. And then there is this mega doozy that has set off NBA junkies everywhere in to wild speculation and rumor mongering mode.
“I don’t expect this to be a situation like it was in 2005 when they said, ‘You know what? We’re just going to cut payroll, we’re just going to cut everything and not contend for a championship,’” Bryant said. “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’ll stand out of their way and let them do what they do.”
There are more layers to that quote than layers to Kobe’s complex and some would say eccentric personality. Is it me, or did he just say, if the Lakers don’t wanna win you can trade me?
I’m all for it. The Trailblazer fan in me does kartwheels over any news that weakens the Lakers. The DFW radio host in me is excited about covering the final years of Dirk’s career with the Lakers out of championship mode.
The winds of change are blowing. It wouldn’t be the first time Bryant has flirted with leaving Hollywood. If it wasn’t for the Pau Gasol acquisition it’s possible he’d be gone already. Being a lifetime Laker isn’t as important to Bryant as winning championships and catching his idol Michael Jordan who has six rings to Kobe’s five.
For Bryant, it has to hurt. He’s getting old, and his team is no longer willing to spend at all costs in order to put talent around him. Who’s team is ready to take advantage?