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Kobe expects to be old self again next season, expects Lakers’ front office to fix team fast

Mar 12, 2014, 5:08 PM EDT

Kobe Bryant AP

Kobe Bryant had expressed his frustration with his knee healing slowly before. He also had said he planned to bring the Lakers back to their old selves next season.

So it shouldn’t be a surprise that on the day it was made official he is out for the season Kobe sounded frustrated, said he plans to lead the Lakers back next season and called out the Lakers front office to make some moves.

Byant spoke to the media less than an hour after it became official that the Lakers were shutting him down for the season. Mike Trudell of lakers.com quoted Kobe on his frustration.

Kobe may get back to somewhere close to his pre-injury self, but even adding that Kobe to this roster likely would not mean making the playoffs in the West. Most Laker observers (myself included) think the Lakers are on a multi-year rebuilding project and next year’s Lakers, while likely better than this version, is not going to be very good.

Kobe has no patience for that, as tweeted by Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times.

An NBA star of Kobe’s stature and longevity is usually consulted by the team about moves, or at least informed. That he has not been doesn’t speak well of management. It’s one thing to let them run the ship, but it’s another not to confer with your elite talent. Agents and other players talk about these kinds of things.

It is possible the Lakers turn it around this summer — it is possible Minnesota realizes they will not re-sign Kevin Love and look to trade him to L.A. — but it’s not likely. Which means a very frustrated Kobe next season.

By the way, Kobe also got in a dig at the Clippers. Just for fun.

  1. RavenzGunnerz - Mar 12, 2014 at 5:27 PM

    Ok. That dig at the Clippers is mad funny.

    • abchome - Mar 12, 2014 at 6:18 PM

      And he will also know what it feels like to be a Clippers player all these years as well.

      • apkyletexas - Mar 12, 2014 at 9:59 PM

        He knows all too well. This will be the 4th time in his career that one of Kobe’s Laker teams has finished with a worse record than the Clippers. Not to mention the times the Lakers finished only one and two games better. Bryant should base his jokes in reality – much funnier that way.

      • asimonetti88 - Mar 13, 2014 at 12:07 AM

        “This will be the 4th time in his career that one of Kobe’s Laker teams has finished with a worse record than the Clippers”

        I would have to think the 5 times his Laker teams have finished with a championship outweigh that.

  2. lakerade - Mar 12, 2014 at 5:28 PM

    Interesting that he called out management again. I sense it as more of a frustration born of Phil’s current connection to the Knicks more than Kobe actually demanding huge moves be made this offseason. Unless that KLove trade surfaces, there’s just no real game changers likely to happen this summer. But, Kobe is Kobe, so anything is possible in his mind. The fanbase certainly concurs that it starts at the top.

    • antistratfordian - Mar 12, 2014 at 5:41 PM

      Maybe Kobe will end up in New York at some point…

      • toycannoni - Mar 12, 2014 at 5:45 PM

        i think ur on to something there, but there’s no way any team in the nba takes on that ridiculous salary for an old has been

      • money2long - Mar 12, 2014 at 6:11 PM

        how is kobe a “has-been” ?
        the man averaged 27ppg last season, and is only off the court this season because of a fractured knee.

        please explain what you mean by has-been.

      • moseskkim - Mar 12, 2014 at 6:28 PM

        its ridiculous how people are only focused on “what have u done for me lately”. you cant deny kobes been out this year. but you also cant deny how much fire he has and how amazing a bball player hes been. its a privilege to watch him. hes played through crazy injuries. injuries that ppl sit out weeks to months for. he has one season of Achilles/knee issues and hes a has been? until he shuts it down for 2 more years, I will not bet against kobe. hey he might not come back like “kobe” but even if he doesn’t, he’ll still be above average. its absolutely ridiculous. almost no one has played that long at that high a level and we write him off cuz of this season of injuries. utterly ridiculous. love or hate, kobe is a bball living legend and we should give him every benefit of the doubt before talking crap about him.

      • kinggw - Mar 12, 2014 at 6:41 PM

        Maybe the terminology is wrong but the toycannoni’s sentiment is right. Kobe played in all but 4 games last year, averaged 27 and the Lakers had to struggle to make the playoffs, despite them having a very talented (on paper anyway) team. Kobe can still put up numbers, but those numbers don’t lead to wins.

        Kobe’s numbers may return to some form of normalcy, but his effectiveness is on the decline and has been for a few years. Its not a slight on Kobe, its the facts. With playoff games, he has over 20 years on his legs. You have to assume that his age had a lot to do with his difficulty in recovering from his injuries. Kobe has always taken care of himself, but father time is undefeated.

        Case in point, when MJ came back at 39 for the Wiz, his numbers (23/6/5) werent far off from his career numbers of 30/6/5. He wasnt as effective, wasnt as defensively sound and couldn’t take over the game like he used to. That’s the area Kobe is now entering.

      • moseskkim - Mar 12, 2014 at 9:03 PM

        U bring up last year.. Kobe ain’t no monta Ellis/ Chris bosh in Toronto. He put up big numbers last year and they didn’t win. Why? Their team sucked. Who cares if u have d12/Nash/gasol on paper if they were injured. D12 didn’t look like himself all year and is now getting back. Kobe carried a mediocre squad as far as he could. Yes “Father Time” will do its thing but don’t write kobe off just yet. Easy to pounce on someone when they’re down.. Let them get back up and fight and let’s see wsup

    • sportsfan18 - Mar 12, 2014 at 6:18 PM

      Huge moves to be made this summer?

      How?

      The cap this year is like $58.7 million.

      Let’s assume the cap is an even $60 million next season, not guaranteed as this isn’t the NFL and the cap hasn’t always gone up much and has remained the same for two seasons in the past.

      Kobe will earn $23.5 million and that is 39% of the cap all to himself (and he’ll earn $25 million the yr after next).

      Add Nash’s $9 something million and you’re at about $34 million with just those two and that’s almost 57% of the cap for just two players.

      Cap holds have to be put in place to fill out the roster, plus they have to be able to pay their 1st round draft pick, $3.1million or something depending on where they pick (#6 slot in last yrs draft is making $3.1 million this season).

      Here are words from an article on this very site last summer…

      “In Kobe’s case, I expect the Lakers will re-sign him to a discounted deal, much as Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett did for their teams. While Kobe has said he doesn’t want a pay cut, I think that was negotiations and he’ll return for around $10 million.

      So where does that leave the Lakers: Kobe at $10 million, Nash at $9.7 million, a draft pick around $1 million, Sacre at $915,243, and eight minimum salary cap holds, your grand total is around $26 million on the books.

      Which leaves the Lakers around $36 million in cap space in the summer of 2014.

      LeBron’s max is going to be about $20 million for the first year, ‘Melo’s is more like $23.”
      http://probasketballtalk.nbcsports.com/2013/07/23/lakers-will-not-have-quite-as-much-2014-cap-space-as-some-think/

      And that was with Kobe at $10 million, NOT $23.5 million for next season.

      So drop that $36 million in cap space for 2014 all the way down to $22.5 million.

      The Lakers are in trouble.

      • Kurt Helin - Mar 12, 2014 at 8:09 PM

        The Lakers are pushing for trades this summer. For example, convincing Minny they will lose Love and to trade him now (likely after the draft and the Lakers have that high pick). That kind of thing is at least possible. Far from likely, but possible.

      • sportsfan18 - Mar 13, 2014 at 2:06 AM

        Kurt,

        Yes they are. But until a trade has happened, it hasn’t happened.

        Plus, the cap amount is the cap amount. I don’t know the exact cap amount next yr but $60 million is pretty close.

        Kobe at roughly $24 million ($23.5) leaves only $36 million for all other players NOT named Kobe.

        Had Kobe “only” taken say $12 million, the Lakers would have $48 million for all other players not named Kobe.

        Part of my point is that all G,M.s would rather have $48 million to spend than $36 million (yes, I know others have contracts, Nash, plus cap holds etc… I’m simplifying)

        The Lakers have to HOPE that teams will trade with them because of the state they are in.

        Part of the probasketballtalk article I referenced above and in the link I attached, the author stated his guess that Kobe would take $10 million a season in his new contract.

        I know the Lakers aren’t afraid to pay the tax for going over the cap but having one older player take up basically 40% of the cap isn’t the best way for the organization to put the best team around him in order to win a championship.

        I might be off base Kurt, but if Kobe and the organization truly wanted to maximize their chance at a title next season, their odds would be better had Kobe only been given say $12 million vs. what he is being paid as the extra money could have been spent on strengthening the roster around Kobe.

        If I am wrong, please let me know. Thanks

      • Kurt Helin - Mar 13, 2014 at 5:20 AM

        I thought Kobe would take around $10 mil as that is the bar KG and Duncan had set. He and the Lakers chose otherwise. And you’re right it limits what they can do in free agency, but this is not a hard cap so they have some flexibility. The Lakers want to be under the tax line the next couple years to reset the repeater tax clock, which will be about $72 mil. It’s not simple, but the Lakers don’t have to fit 12 guys into $36 mil.

      • markisb62 - Mar 13, 2014 at 10:09 AM

        Dude, nobody cares. SHUT UP already.

  3. dollasnsense - Mar 12, 2014 at 5:30 PM

    Love the last one about the Clips. Well played Mamba!

    Is there anyone in the NBA besides Gregg Popovich who gives a better interview?

  4. prareedoggin - Mar 12, 2014 at 5:42 PM

    Got the “Old” part right

  5. toycannoni - Mar 12, 2014 at 5:44 PM

    bwahahaha….child please!!!

    he takes up over 40% of the cap money and then whines that mgmt isn’t doing enough??…..no one worth anything wants to play on his team

    sad,sad,sad situation in lala land and the clippers now are large and in charge

  6. spursareold - Mar 12, 2014 at 6:24 PM

    If The Lakers were REALLY interested in “fixing the team”, they never would have given Kobe that cap strangling extension.

    Bed.

    Made.

    Lie in it, Kobe.

    • psung26 - Mar 12, 2014 at 7:51 PM

      Never ‘would have’ and ‘should have’ are different things. Unless you’ve always been a mindreader.

    • shuttaman1990 - Mar 12, 2014 at 10:04 PM

      u dont get it.
      We got dough.
      If the luxury tax happens then it happens you chump.

      • bougin89 - Mar 13, 2014 at 9:33 AM

        I highly doubt you realize the exceptions and how sign and trades work to get over the salary cap. The Lakers can’t just spend whatever they like. It’s possible for them to go well over the salary cap, but not easy if you don’t have expiring contracts(They only have Nash) and/or valuable trade chips(No 2015 1st rounder which means they can’t trade their 2014 and 2016 picks before they actually make a selection).

  7. bballhistorian - Mar 12, 2014 at 6:35 PM

    Jim and Jeanie Buss’ strained relationship is the CORE of the Lakers’ problems. Kobe is correct on that front. Unfortunately, the only person that can fix that is now deceased (Jerry Buss), not Kobe, Phil Jackson…NOBODY (except a family friend) can fix their issues.

    Best thing for Lakers to do is to Trade Kobe for Melo. Reunite Kobe with Phil Jackson in NY (assuming he gets the job).

  8. eugenesaxe1 - Mar 12, 2014 at 6:35 PM

    If they’re going to fix the team fast, move #1 would be to get rid of his contract. And it’s nice to see he’s still arrogant enough to think he’s somehow in charge, even though those days are obviously well behind him.

  9. billtetley53 - Mar 12, 2014 at 6:46 PM

    Geez, the lakers whiners are out in force today. musician should be along any time now.

    And kb2408 with his recockulous free agent scenarios too.

    Kobe , you’ve won your last ring. Deal with it. Just like this dumb fanbase, you just don’t get it.

    • musician0785 - Mar 12, 2014 at 10:06 PM

      Couldn’t even wait for me to comment this time huh……

      all you do is wait for me to post something and then you say “See! He’s whining” without any substance…..typical trolling

  10. mackcarrington - Mar 12, 2014 at 6:54 PM

    Jeanie Buss seems to be very non-confrontational in her relationship with her brother. She seems to be just fine with carrying out her “father’s wishes”. I think if she was a more aggressive personality, they would have hired Jackson last year, and he wouldn’t be headed to New York right now. A stronger woman would have told Phil,”You’re not going anywhere”. She is who she is, and unfortunately she may just sit and suffer in silence, to the detriment of the Lakers.

  11. velocirep - Mar 12, 2014 at 7:15 PM

    Didn’t like the old Kobe, but the Kobe post Shaq winning a title in Miami, that Kobe is pretty cool. And this is vintage mamba.
    If he finds a way to will the lakers to the finals he might make a case for a spot on the NBA Mount Rushmore. I see what he’s thinking.
    I don’t believe any player in the history of the league could take this situation and come out with a ring even MJ himself could help this franchise and the mess they’ve made

  12. velocirep - Mar 12, 2014 at 7:22 PM

    Didn’t like the old Kobe, but the Kobe post Shaq winning a title in Miami, that Kobe is pretty cool and this is vintage mamba.
    If he finds a way to will the lakers to the finals he might make a case for a spot on the NBA Mount Rushmore.

    I don’t believe any player in the history of the league could take this situation and come out with a ring. Even MJ himself couldn’t help this franchise and the mess they’ve made

  13. jerdogthompson - Mar 12, 2014 at 7:59 PM

    Haven’t you guys heard? It’s no longer the Black Mamba, no,no,no…..after that Achilles tear he will officially be known as….

    Popeye Mamba, get it?

    It’s because the injured Achilles leg calf will never be the size of the un injured one. Hence the Popeye Mamba monicker. Enjoy that one along with what will be another pitiful year Popeye Mamba.

    • bhester1906 - Mar 12, 2014 at 8:12 PM

      jerdogthompson

      That joke was just terrible. Like in a bad way. It was just not funny at all.

    • spursareold - Mar 13, 2014 at 9:39 AM

      If you have to explain a joke, it’s bad.

  14. bigdaddy44 - Mar 12, 2014 at 8:30 PM

    Translation – ‘ Of course I could be playing, but it is more important to tank the season for that top 5 draft pick.’

  15. jerdogthompson - Mar 12, 2014 at 8:31 PM

    Much like Popeyes comment about the Clippers.

    Truth hurts.

    • musician0785 - Mar 12, 2014 at 10:09 PM

      ITS NOT FUNNY, not to clipper fans, not to Kobe haters, its just not funny..you tried this schtick a couple of months ago…..let…it…..go……

  16. dizzydiz69 - Mar 13, 2014 at 8:16 AM

    How are you going to let Kobe, who has about two years left in the NBA at max tell you how to run your organization for the future. If he really want to help them take a pay cut so they can get some more talent in LA. His attitude with teammates don’t help.

  17. billtetley53 - Mar 13, 2014 at 8:52 AM

    “Typical trolling” and its working beautifully with you. You just can’t help yourself from responding, can you?

    At least you’ve cut down on your need to rebut every single anti laker post.

    You’re making some progress anyway.

    You’ll still always respond to me though. You’re weak minded that way.

    • musician0785 - Mar 14, 2014 at 3:51 AM

      “You’ll still always respond to me though. You’re weak minded that way.”

      ^^^^^ This is very weird…..you sound like a stalker, I’m a grown man you don’t even know…..and you talkin to me like an ex girlfriend…..ewwwww

  18. markisb62 - Mar 13, 2014 at 10:22 AM

    “An NBA star of Kobe’s stature and longevity is usually consulted by the team about moves, or at least informed. That he has not been doesn’t speak well of management.”

    Perhaps even more true is that management doesn’t care about Kobe and his opinions. Better yet, Management probably sees the truth of an entitled, washed up “has been” and do not think he’s all that relevant to be consulted with in ANYTHING they decide to do.

  19. bloyaglock - Mar 13, 2014 at 2:09 PM

    This dude needs to just retire…its over!! If he thinks Jeanie’s idiot brother in the front office is going to do anything SMART, he’s dillusional. Denial isnt just a river in Egypt.

  20. billtetley53 - Mar 14, 2014 at 7:58 AM

    Nope, not a stalker, nice try though.

    Just a person that is sick of you whiny lakers fans that were so loudmouthed when the team was competitive, no when they stink, you can’t handle it and you cry and call people trolls for getting it back.

    You’re the main culprit, so you get most of it back, that and your incessant need to answer nearly every posting, you and Vanessa Monetti are the 2 biggest babies.
    I’ve found out through the grapevine that Monetti, is a bit intelligence challenged, so I backed off on him.
    Don’t flattter yourself dude, I pick on you because you whine the loudest, and you can’t seem to stop feeding the “troll”.

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