The news broke a few days ago that Kobe Bryant was once again heading to Germany to receive a special treatment on his knee in order to help him be as right as possible whenever his rehab from a torn Achilles allows him to return to the court at some point this season.
Bryant’s every move is scrutinized, and this latest one is no exception. But a report about the details surrounding his departure is likely to raise more eyebrows than usual.
Still recovering from his torn Achilles last April, Bryant has yet to be cleared to run or jump by the Lakers. His return date to the team for game action is unknown. The team said he went to Germany for treatment unrelated to the Achilles injury. Interestingly, he didn’t tell Mike D’Antoni that he was leaving, choosing to notify the team’s long-time trainer, Gary Vitti, instead.
“Kobe not telling Mike D’Antoni tells you something about what Kobe thinks of coaches, and also Mike’s status,’’ said one NBA head coach. “Now if that were Phil Jackson, I would think Kobe would have told him he was going.’’
It was well-chronicled last season how D’Antoni couldn’t control Bryant’s wish to play heavy minutes late in the year, and this latest report would seem to further the speculation that Kobe will do whatever he wants, with or without D’Antoni’s permission.
But quite honestly, none of us have any idea about the inner workings of the Lakers franchise, or how frequently Kobe and D’Antoni communicate outside of scheduled practices or games, if at all.
This could very well be standard operating procedure as far as Kobe and the Lakers go, but those who want to read drama into a situation where none exists will choose to do so, no matter the circumstances.