By now, we all know that the Los Angeles Lakers’ eyes are on Year Two of the ‘LeBron James Experiment’. They are planning on going big-game hunting on the deep pool of stars and superstars hitting free agency in 2019 to pair with the NBA’s best player.
They have been linked to the likes of Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, and Kawhi Leonard, along with reports from a couple weeks ago regarding interest in small forward, Khris Middleton.
But that is not the only route they can take to find another star. Center/power forward Anthony Davis has been one of the biggest names in trade speculation around the league, as has shooting guard Bradley Beal. And both have been linked to Los Angeles.
But remember, rumors are just that, rumors. However, President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson has been on the record again, spewing confidence about being able to land someone, as he was this past summer- and look how that turned out.
But with so much time left before the summer of 2019 and the natural element of human nature to consider, anything can happen to turn that conviction into disappointment. Unless you are that confident in selling your vision or know something that no one else knows.
Do they have a wink-wink deal in place with a pending free agent? Do they have an agreement in place for an Anthony Davis? After all, Los Angeles is the favorite to land the 25-year-old to many for multiple reasons.
They have the market, the heritage franchise, LeBron James, and Davis recently hired Rich Paul as his agent, who happens to be James’ agent and one of his closest friends. And the New Orleans Pelicans are nowhere near title contention. ESPN’s Jorge Sedano joined a Laker Nation podcast to share that he believes a trade involving the Lakers and Pelicans is inevitable for the superstar.
And now there is further fuel added to this “Superstar to Los Angeles”, with recent comments from Kobe Bryant regarding the Lakers’ team and the front office during the franchise’s yearly ‘All-Access’ event held at Staples Center.
“They will figure it out,” Bryant said. “They have talented pieces and [Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka] has put them in position with incredible flexibility. They will figure it out. So, enjoy the journey because we’ll be champions before you know it, and then we’ll just be laughing at all the Warrior fans who all of the sudden came out of nowhere.”
And he continued, focusing on LeBron James and the team’s style of play with an eye on the future.
“It’s a test of Bron’s patience and also doing what he needs to do to keep the team’s head above water,” Bryant told Lakers play-by-play announcer Bill MacDonald at the “All-Access” event. “So, it’s a balancing act. They were struggling, Bron got the ball, took control, decided to start playing point, doing everything, doing everything.
“That’s not the recipe for winning championships by no means, but it is a recipe to keep your head above water, to give yourself a little breathing room, and now it’s going back to teaching how to play the way that we want to play.”
There is a lot to digest if you look deeper into his comments. With Bryant’s relationship to Lakers’ general manager Rob Pelinka, it’s fair to assume that he’s in the loop in some shape or form.
He mentions how the style of depending on LeBron James so much is unsustainable, which not only sends the message that the Lakers need to do a better job of getting the younger guys involved, but it indirectly implies that LA needs a second established star to help out James.
Kobe knows that the Lakers’ young core is still years away from developing into the stars they have the potential of becoming, and because of it, the team is not a championship-caliber team at the moment, and won’t be unless they get that second star.
Does Kobe know something behind-the-scenes that others don’t? He is close with Pelinka so it wouldn’t be surprising if they talked together about the team and their plans and the general manager may have dropped a nugget or two.
And the fact that he took a shot at the Golden State Warriors fanbase can be interpreted in two ways. One is the takeaway of calling them out for being fairweather fans.
The other is perhaps the Lakers have Kevin Durant locked up. Stealing away Golden State’s best player would be permitting of “laughing at all the Warriors fans.”
Kobe Bryant is intellectual and meticulous with his actions; he isn’t someone who makes comments for the heck of them. He won’t give comments with empty weight on them (intentionally or unintentionally).
You can argue that he made the comments in a joking manner, but to go to that extreme with the wording choice “for fun” is puzzling.
But with how the past year has gone with the franchise, how Kobe Bryant carries himself, and his relationship to the Lakers’ front office, there’s a good chance he is speaking on something he knows. And if that’s the case, Lakers fans should be extremely excited.
Featured Image via Flickr/Michael Tipton