Tuesday 19th June 2018,
The Hoop Doctors

Does Kobe Bryant Want Lakers to Make a Trade?

Kobe Bryant is a lot of things, but patient isn’t one of them.

With the Los Angeles falling to 17-23 and three games outside of the Western Conference’s playoff picture, naturally, the Black Mamba’s patience is wearing thin. Everybody who calls Hollywood home is undoubtedly at their wits end and everyone has their own idea of how to fix what has become a $100-plus million mess.

But is Kobe’s idea of a resolution blowing up the very roster he advocated less than six months ago?

Bryant (per Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News) offered some potentially backhanded sentiments after the Lakers’ latest loss to the Toronto Raptors:

Lakers guard Kobe Bryant asked that all the criticism go toward him after scoring 26 points on only 10-of-32 shooting. Bryant attributed the poor marksmanship to “heavy legs” after playing 42 minutes. But he vowed he would adjust his game and enhance his post-game treatment entailing ice baths and massage therapy.

“This team needs me on both ends of the floor,” said Bryant, who has taken a larger defensive role in the past week. “So unless they’re going to do something roster-wise, I have to continue to push through it.”

On the surface, it could appear as if Kobe is willing to put the blame for Los Angeles’ struggles on his shoulders alone (he is), but this could also be considered a plea to the Lakers’ front office. He was very specific in mentioning what the brass’ plans were “roster-wise.” Could he have perhaps been begging them to make a move to make this team deeper, to make it better, to make it more Kobe-friendly?

Absolutely. I mean at this point, anything’s possible. Bryant wants nothing more than to win, and if this current convocation isn’t winning, he wouldn’t shy away from requesting it be dismantled.

But this isn’t what that is. And Kobe clarified as much when pressed further about his previous comments:

Does Bryant believe the Lakers’ front office needs to make a move?

“No,” he said. “Listen, if this is what we’re rolling with, I can’t make excuses. I have to go out there and do my job.”

If we still thought his willingness to bear the burden of the entire franchise was more of a hoax than anything, the Mamba took to twitter to quell any remaining doubts in his authenticity.

Bryant can be as ruthless a being as there is, but he’s also one of the best leaders the NBA has to offer. And him accepting responsibility for the Lakers’ failures thus far is just that–him being a good leader.

Would Kobe welcome a smaller scale deal that doesn’t break up the team’s core and bags them some additional depth? Only hell yes. But he, like the rest of us, also understands such a deal is next to impossible. Without trading Pau Gasol (or Dwight Howard), the likelihood of Los Angeles being able to do anything is waning.

But while Bryant knows this, he was in no way requesting the Lakers’ brass blow this thing up. If anything, he might have been urging them to come to a definitive decision. With the rumors surrounding the Lakers constantly churning, his words may have been more of him imploring the team to come out and say they won’t make a move, or just pull the trigger on whatever it is they’re working on and get it over. Remember, he publicly urged the franchise to make a decision on Gasol’s future only last season when his name was constantly being tossed around in negotiations.

So, fret about the current state of the Lakers. Worry about their lack of defensive rotations, bad decision making and at times lethargic demeanor. Panic about their immediate future. Doubt whether or not they will turn it around.

Yet find solace in knowing that Bryant isn’t unhappy with the state of the roster or prepared to disperse the blame to anyone on it.

Except himself.

Dan Favale is a firm believer in the three-pointer as well as the notion that defense doesn’t always win championships. His musings can be found at Bleacherreport.com in addition to TheHoopDoctors.com. Follow @danfavale on Twitter for his latest posts and all things NBA.

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