Kobe Bryant says he is being patient with Lakers’ teammates. Relatively.

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With Kobe Bryant, patience is relative.

He is by his own definition an old-school, hard-a** taskmaster who is going to drive those around him. He doesn’t like losing, he doesn’t tolerate a lack of preparation or effort. He’s going to push himself and he’s going to push this team.

He’s also smart. Certainly smart enough to know this Lakers team is bad, they are not playoff bound in the West (despite a couple straight wins) and the real question at the end of the season is if they will finish in the bottom five and hold on to their pick (if their first round draft pick is six or higher it goes to the Suns from the Steve Nash deal). Kobe knows this team is only going to be pushed so far.

All of which is to say he’s being patient. For Kobe. That’s what he told Adrain Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.

“The idea of me having no patience is misunderstood,” Bryant told Yahoo Sports on Tuesday night. “I don’t have patience when we’re not putting the work in, if I see that we’re not doing our job as professionals. If that’s happening, I’ll let my team know about it. But this is not that kind of group. We work. These guys want to get better every day. They’re there early working, they’re there late working.

“This organization put forth a lot of effort to try and land some of these top free agents. They went for it. I respect that. I appreciate that.

“Now it’s time for me to go out there and do my job – not whine or complain about it.”

Guys on the team such as Jeremy Lin say Kobe is talking to them, mentoring them. And yelling a little too. It’s all connected for Bryant.

Kobe’s going to put up numbers this season. He’s going to be a show. And while he can no longer lift a team as high doing that as he once did, he will fill Staples Center’s expensive seats with people who want to see it. Ratings will be up, sponsors will still flock to the Lakers.

This summer they will swing again at big free agents, and like most Jim Thome trips to the plate the strikeout is far more likely outcome than the home run. And the cycle will repeat.

And next season Kobe will be patient. For Kobe.