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Kobe says he doesn’t want input on Lakers free agent decisions this summer

Feb 16, 2014, 9:46 PM EDT

kobe all-star NOLA

NEW ORLEANS – Kobe Bryant was voted in by the fans as an All-Star this season, an honor he received for the seventeenth time in his Hall of Fame career.

He’s been sidelined with a knee injury since Dec. 20, however, so not only was he replaced in the lineup for the midseason exhibition, but he was excused from the usually exhaustive media availability obligations the players are subjected to over the course of the weekend’s festivities.

Since Bryant is one of the game’s biggest stars, you knew the league wouldn’t allow him to escape those duties entirely. He met with reporters a little more than an hour before the All-Star game tipped off on Sunday, and with this season completely lost in Los Angeles, questions focused on the Lakers and how they may go about returning to title contention by rebuilding the roster this summer.

With just five players at most under contract for next season besides Bryant, the Lakers will have the cap space to completely overhaul the roster. While getting back to the level of being seriously considered a part of the championship discussion is the priority, Bryant himself somewhat surprisingly said he wants no part of the decision-making process.

“In all honesty, I don’t want it,” Bryant said, when asked if he expected to have more input in front office decisions this summer. “That’s what they do. I’m not a general manager. I don’t know about scouting players and doing things of that nature, so I’ll let them do their job. They have obviously done a phenomenal job at it for years, so I’m not going to jump in the way. All I ask is if something is going to go down, just let me know about it beforehand so I don’t hear about it on a ticker or something. But that’s about it.”

It was pointed out that the last time the Lakers had a down season like this one (amassing only 34 wins during the 2004-05 season), it took them just three years to return to the Finals. Bryant believes the same thing is possible this time around.

“What we have coming up this offseason with the cap space and what we have ahead of ourselves seems to be right in the Lakers wheelhouse in terms of turning things around pretty quickly,” Bryant said. “We have had summers like this, they have never really faltered. They’ve normally made really sound and excellent decisions that put us right back in contention. So I think this offseason is right in their wheelhouse.”

The Lakers are one of the league’s most storied franchises, and that along with the large market Los Angeles has to offer would theoretically make them a prime destination for any star-level free agent. Bryant’s intensity level and competitive fire isn’t for everyone, however, as we saw with Dwight Howard last season.

He’s well aware of his reputation, but doesn’t feel it should hinder his team’s pursuit of top shelf talent to play alongside him.

“I’m a difficult person to deal with,” Bryant said. “For people who don’t have the same kind of competitiveness or commitment to winning, then I become an absolute pain in the neck. Because I’m going to drag you into the gym every single day. If you need to be drug in, that’s what I’m going to do.

“But for players that have that level of commitment, it’s very, very, easy,” he said. “And we can wind up enhancing the entire group and elevating them to that type of level. But if we don’t have that commitment, man, I’ll absolutely be very, very tough to get along with. No question about it.”

  1. av416 - Feb 16, 2014 at 10:01 PM

    Gotta love Kobe basically telling any player not willing to work insanely hard to not even consider coming to LA. Love it.

    • joescan54 - Feb 18, 2014 at 7:06 PM

      Kobe should just stay out of the way. ALL of the major stars don’t want to play with him. He’s 35 and past his prime, coming off of two injuries.The only reason they keep Steve Nash around is so everyone talks about the 40 year old guard not the 35 year old guard. A back court that is 75 years old? I could see it with the starters and back ups but not the two starters.

  2. uscthom78 - Feb 16, 2014 at 10:27 PM

    We all know he is the defacto GM….trying to save face because he knows all the top names do not want to play with such a selfish person.

    • asimonetti88 - Feb 17, 2014 at 2:47 AM

      Suggesting that Kobe is the defacto GM is pretty offensive to Mitch Kupchak, a good GM who has built multiple title winning teams.

      • stayhigh_247 - Feb 17, 2014 at 3:10 PM

        Sure, but lets not completely exclude the logo, Jerry West had a hand in building those title teams as well.

      • asimonetti88 - Feb 17, 2014 at 3:14 PM

        Jerry built the threepeat teams, sure. But by the time the back-to-back teams in 2009 and 2010 were winning titles, Logo hadn’t been a part of the Lakers organization for over 7 years.

  3. money2long - Feb 16, 2014 at 10:36 PM

    kobe’s right about that ticker thing. haha. imagine all the players in the nba who have been traded, for instance, sitting at home watching espn and eating a grilled cheese sandwich when they see their name on the ticker at the bottom of the screen saying how they’ve been traded to utah or toronto or whatever. dam lol. what could be worse is if the day before they bought tickets for family members to attend one of their “home” games that week.

  4. mackcarrington - Feb 16, 2014 at 10:43 PM

    “That’s not my problem.”

  5. eugenesaxe1 - Feb 16, 2014 at 11:39 PM

    He shouldn’t have any say because they’ll be looking for guys to take over once he’s gone. If he were younger/healthier, he’d be all over it.

  6. pfic15 - Feb 16, 2014 at 11:39 PM

    That’s cool, Kobe. Your huge contract will be input enough.

    • sportsfan18 - Feb 17, 2014 at 1:21 AM

      Amen!

      Well, they’ll be able to bring back Derek Fisher… that’s about all who’ll go there for the crumbs they have left…

    • kb2408 - Feb 17, 2014 at 6:14 PM

      Haters gonna hate.

  7. 00maltliquor - Feb 17, 2014 at 12:16 AM

    I don’t blame Kobe, Mitch got his work cut out for him this offseason.

  8. sportsfan18 - Feb 17, 2014 at 1:20 AM

    Kobe ALREADY has weighed in on their free agents for next year…

    He’s pulling down about $24 mill for each of the next two seasons so they will have $12 million or so LESS each of the next two seasons to spend had he taken only like $12 mill per each of the next two seasons…

    Let’s see, $12 million LESS per yr for the next two yrs means the Lakers CAN’T get as much quality as they otherwise COULD have, like if they were actually trying to win a championship. which is what both Kobe and the organization SAY they play for.

    Kobe has spoken loud and clear on their free agents for the next two yrs…

    Kobe, you can now get Derek Fisher back…

    • topdawg4ever - Feb 18, 2014 at 2:41 PM

      Exactly. He made damn sure there would be no star player besides himself on the team. Way to go, Kobe!

  9. antistratfordian - Feb 17, 2014 at 1:23 AM

    You can be insanely competitive and demanding and not be a total d-bag. Yes, it’s possible – though maybe not for Kobe. In any case, competitiveness is a poor cover for his narcissistic personality disorder.

    • asimonetti88 - Feb 17, 2014 at 2:49 AM

      dude you’ve never even met the guy. He is well liked in the community here for being gracious to fans and is heavily involved in his daughters’ school as well.

      • antistratfordian - Feb 17, 2014 at 2:59 AM

        I have met Kobe. He was an a-hole.

      • Professor Fate - Feb 17, 2014 at 2:07 PM

        From what I’ve seen you post on here I’d be an a-hole to you, too, if I was unfortunate enough to meet you.

      • kb2408 - Feb 17, 2014 at 6:17 PM

        @anti…you have met Kobe, huh? Yeah, and I met Marilyn Monroe last night…then I woke up.

    • musician0785 - Feb 17, 2014 at 12:13 PM

      So that’s why you hold this ridiculous grudge, why you constantly troll Laker/Kobe articles, because Kobe was mean to you. HILARIOUS…I’ve met him too, about 3 times, dude was very engaging…..

      • 00maltliquor - Feb 17, 2014 at 1:33 PM

        He’s just mad Kobe refused to sign his balls (yes, plural. Not basketballs.).
        He since then felt rejected and vowed to be a LeBron fan ever since.

      • antistratfordian - Feb 17, 2014 at 3:10 PM

        That’s one reason. There are several others, obviously… ask Kobe’s teammates and coaches, and his wife and parents.

  10. musician0785 - Feb 17, 2014 at 3:24 AM

    Now it all makes sense…..

  11. billtetley53 - Feb 17, 2014 at 8:13 AM

    Ah yes, Vanessa Monetti is here defending her man again….

    Sorry honey, not everyone has to like your husband.

  12. billtetley53 - Feb 17, 2014 at 12:15 PM

    Sticking your hand out and getting slapped five is not “meeting Kobe”, sorry to burst your bubble.

    • asimonetti88 - Feb 17, 2014 at 12:49 PM

      Exactly.

  13. billtetley53 - Feb 17, 2014 at 2:51 PM

    Wow, lakers fans sure are big babies.
    I’d like to see just one day go by without one of you crying like a little girl—- hasn’t happened yet.
    Poor Professors feelings are hurt.
    Musician is pretending he “met” Kobe in between his whining about trolls. Kobes wife(Monetti) is defending her man’s honor and old malt, well hell, he’s talking about Kobes scrotum.

    You guys wonder why as a fanbase you get picked on? Couple the above info with a total lack of objectivity regarding your team, its not really that difficult to understand.

    • reesesteel23 - Feb 17, 2014 at 4:23 PM

      ^ LOL

    • kb2408 - Feb 17, 2014 at 6:20 PM

      No, our fanbase gets picked on because the LAKERS win more than any other team, L.A. is beautiful and we have the finest women.

      • topdawg4ever - Feb 18, 2014 at 2:44 PM

        The best that money can buy!

    • musician0785 - Feb 18, 2014 at 3:20 PM

      I live 1 block away from the practice facility in el Segundo, I see Laker players all the time, you know nothing about me loser boy, I don’t have to pretend squat, go back to trolling and let the grown men handle the heavy lifting……you talk about Laker fans having a lack of objectivity as if you, the Laker hater, are the most objective of NBA fans gimme a break…..you say I whine about trolls, I say the only reason you have an issue with it is because you are one…….you should be on a nets article complaining about terrible the most expensive team in the league is. Or how the nets “brain trust” mortgaged their future for the 2012-2013 Boston Celtics….how delusional am I on that one? Or maybe you’re Tryna decide what team to root for after Garnett retires after getting swept in the first round….M

  14. billtetley53 - Feb 17, 2014 at 6:26 PM

    Umm, no, your fanbase gets picked on mostly for being extremely delusional.

    You’re at the top of the hit parade kb2408, the very top. You’re not only delusional, you don’t know very much about basketball either. What a combination.

  15. billtetley53 - Feb 17, 2014 at 6:28 PM

    kb, the only Monroe you dream about is JM J. Bullocks Monroe character on “Too close for comfort”.

  16. unxpexted1 - Feb 18, 2014 at 10:11 AM

    MJ punches steve kerr= competetive
    Kobe demands a certain level of effort = dbag, arrogant, narcissist, and personality disorder

    And people say Kobe fans overreact, geesh.

    I think people forget there is more than one way to lead. And you don’t always have to be liked to be a leader. Sometimes being very demanding can get results out of people. My best teacher I absolutely hated, but he was demanding required a lot and i learned more from him then anybody. Would I jump in front of a car for the guy? No? But he got the required results. Thats all that matters.

    • topdawg4ever - Feb 18, 2014 at 2:46 PM

      MJ was hyper-competitive and his team LOVED him because he included them and they worked as a team.

      Kobe doesn’t inspire the same because he insists on having the ball at all times and does NOT play team ball.

      • musician0785 - Feb 19, 2014 at 12:29 AM

        Jordan 5.2 Apg
        Bryant 4.8 Apg

        Tell me again this myth, that Jordan played team ball, more so than Kobe. He played team ball when he had the team to do so……Same as Kobe..

  17. billtetley53 - Feb 18, 2014 at 9:01 PM

    musician: Oh boy, did I touch a nerve?

    Anyone can be anything they like on the web, so no, I don’t believe a stinking word about how you “see lakers players all the time”.

    I know I’m a troll, no, that’s not why it “bothers” me. Its just the day in and day out crying you do on here, its sickening.

    I probably won’t be an NBA fan or have a team after Garnett retires. Rest assured though , I will troll you delusional lakers fans.
    1st round exit? We will see. At least they aren’t tanking for a draft pick like the lakers.

    • musician0785 - Mar 1, 2014 at 12:11 PM

      You’re right, because they traded all those picks for past their prime celtics

    • musician0785 - Mar 1, 2014 at 12:12 PM

      and I can give a flying f*** about what u believe

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