Kobe Bryant says he won’t push for trade from Lakers


Often, good players on bad teams get traded. Winning teams have more use for the players, and bad teams would rather get assets that will help down the road.

In the last two years, the NBA’s worst teams have traded a couple of their best players during the season:

  • 2013-14 Bucks (Gary Neal, Luke Ridnour)
  • 2013-14 76ers (Evan Turner, Spencer Hawes)
  • 2012-13 Magic (J.J. Redick, Josh McRoberts)

Will the 2014-15 Lakers join the club?

At 0-4, they appear headed toward the cellar, but their top player is a bit more special than J.J. Redick or Evan Turner.

Kobe Bryant has looked pretty good this season, averaging 24.8 points per game. So far, he’s met the most optimistic reasonable expectations after playing just six games a year ago due to injury.

He’s 36 and owed $48.5 million this season and next, two factors that dramatically diminish his trade value. But he’s playing well enough and has such a great history of playoff success that the Lakers could probably find an interested contender – if they want. And if Kobe wants.

Kobe has a no-trade clause, putting any potential deal in his hands. Would he consider a trade?

Kobe, via Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports:

“I hear the chatter of Kobe should ask out and he should go and play for a contender in this latter stage of his career,” Bryant told Yahoo Sports. “But that’s not what I do. I’m extremely loyal to the Lakers.

“I believe in fighting through the tough times as well as enjoying the good times. It’s my responsibility to get us to be the best that we can be. It’s important that we approach that on a day-to-day basis.”

“We can’t get discouraged by it,” Bryant said. “It’s a very long season. You just have to stay the course. Keep on looking to improve, keep on looking to get better and things will eventually break.

“I’ve enjoyed a great amount of success here. You can’t just enjoy the successful times and then run away from the bad ones. No, I don’t even think about [departing]. I’m a Laker.”

Apparently, $48.5 million buys a lot of loyalty, because although Kobe’s success in Los Angeles plays a part, it’s not the whole story. Kobe had already won three championships with the Lakers when he strongly considered the Clippers as a free agent in 2004 and when he demanded a trade in 2007.

The Lakers invested in Kobe as a business decision. He maximizes the team’s popularity, allowing the Lakers to continue selling tickets at exorbitant prices. How well they play and how well he plays are only part of the story.

So, I doubt either side will pursue a trade.

But here’s the rub: Things won’t necessarily break for the Lakers. Sure, they won’t go winless. And like all teams, they’ll have runs of success.

Turning their season around, though? Don’t count on it.

This is a poor team playing poorly, and Kobe has endured only four games of that so far. It’s possible his tune changes in 40 games.

Again, I’d be surprised if Kobe’s frustration ever reaches the point he wants a trade, but there’s nothing binding about his desire to stay with the Lakers. If he wants to change his mind, he can.

Kobe Bryant is “festively jovial” about Lakers’ 0-4 start


The Los Angeles Lakers are off to the worst start of Kobe Bryant’s 19-year career. Following Saturday night’s loss to the Golden State Warriors, they’re 0-4 to start the season, the first time they’ve lost their first four games since the team played in Minneapolis in the 1950s.

After the game, a reporter asked Bryant if the start bothers him, and he responded just about the way you’d expect him to (the response comes at the 2:25 mark of the video):

As is his nature, Bryant has been very outspoken this season. He praised Jeremy Lin’s assertiveness but has also criticized the team’s effort since the start of the season. This is going to be a difficult year for Kobe: he’s shown flashes of his vintage self, but the Lakers are terrible and don’t really have the talent in place to get better this season.

Jeremy Lin waves off Kobe Bryant in game, Kobe loves it


With 4:40 left the fourth quarter of the Lakers/Clippers game Friday night the score was tied. Jeremy Lin had the ball out top and waived off a Carlos Boozer pick, directed traffic and called for Kobe Bryant to come out and set the pick. Kobe did, Chris Paul switched on to Lin and Kobe had a nice mismatch with J.J. Redick on him, but Lin opted for a leaning, contested three over CP3. Which he drained (putting the Lakers up three at the time, they eventually lost the game).

After the game, Kobe was asked about that play… and he loved it.

Kobe praised Lin for the play, speaking to Baxter Holmes of ESPNLosAngeles.com.

“You have to be able to assert yourself, especially on a team that I’m playing on — especially on a team I’m playing on,” Bryant said with some added emphasis. “Because I don’t want chumps, I don’t want pushovers, and if you’re a chump and a pushover, I will run over you….

“It’s like,” Bryant said during his postgame news conference, then leaned forward and pounded his fist on the table, “you’ve got to put your mark down, man.”

“At some point, you’ve got to piss on the fire hydrant.”

I’m fairly confident Kobe never referred to himself as a fire hydrant before.

Not surprisingly, Kobe has always favored his fearless and aggressive teammates, even when that led to bad shots. He loved Derek Fisher. He loved Shannon Brown. He loved guys that played aggressive and would shoot the rock even when someone else may have had a better look, because Kobe wants guys to be aggressive and step up.

Lin is aggressive to a fault. That’s why he’s in the NBA, he likes to go right, he likes to attack hard off the pick, and his jumper has improved. He’s a solid NBA rotation guard now, which on this Lakers team makes him one of their better players.

And Kobe likes him, which could keep him around for a while.

Kobe gets the and-1 circus shot to go against Warriors (VIDEO)


The Lakers don’t have much in the way of talent this year, and Saturday’s 23-point loss to the Warriors dropped them to 0-4 on the season.

But Kobe Bryant appears to be all the way back from the injuries that limited him a season ago, and is treating us to spectacular highlights on a nightly basis — the latest being this and-1 circus shot he got to go near the end of the first half.

Bryant poured in 19 of his 28 points during a third quarter duel with Klay Thompson, who scored 15 of his career high 41 in the same period.

Kobe drives baseline and elevates for the one-handed reverse slam (VIDEO)


The Lakers may not win too many games this season, but as long as Kobe Bryant remains healthy, there will still be a reson to watch.

Early in the first quarter of Friday night’s contest against the Clippers, Bryant was isolated against Matt Barnes, and drove baseline before elevating for the convincing one-handed reverse slam dunk.