Kobe Bryant said recently that unlike the way the Lakers went about it with their two previous (and ultimately failed) coaching hires, that he would like some input this time around in hopes of helping the team make the right choice.
“On the last two they didn’t,” Bryant said, referring to Mike Brown and D’Antoni, who both failed to endure the length of the initial contracts they signed with the Lakers before parting ways. “On the third one, I’m hoping they do.”
It doesn’t exactly seem like it’s a priority for Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak to seek his consultation, at least during the early stages of the process.
“From time to time we ask his advice,” Kupchak told ESPN at the NBA’s draft combine. “He really won’t weigh in on something like this. I’m not even sure that we’ll talk to him prior to interviews. He is in our facility and from time to time I’ll go down and talk to him about a bunch of different things.”
Now, this doesn’t mean that Bryant won’t have any say at all, and as Kupchak mentioned, he and Bryant speak all the time, which will give Kobe plenty of opportunities to make his voice be heard.
But the Lakers are in an extremely difficult situation. The league’s glamor franchise wants desperately to get back to being relevant as quickly as possible after two consecutive dismal seasons, and rebuilding properly for long-term success involves getting a coach on board who can implement a system and establish a culture of winning that will last far beyond the two years remaining on Bryant’s contract.
L.A. certainly would like to get someone in place who could bond with Bryant and help the team make one more run at a title while he’s still around. But that’s the dream — the reality is, it may take much longer, and the franchise needs to choose the best coaching candidate available more than it needs to acquiesce to Bryant’s wishes.