Delivering Kevin Durant Could Be Kobe Bryant’s Final Gift to Los Angeles Lakers

Kobe Bryant is winding his way through the end stages of a brilliant career, competing as fiercely as his 36-year-old body will allow. Delivering Kevin Durant to the Los Angeles Lakers could be a bittersweet parting gift.

Bryant’s current two-year contract lasts through the 2015-16 season. Durant’s contract with the Oklahoma City Thunder will expire after that season as well.

There is certainly no guarantee that the NBA’s reigning Most Valuable Player will leave the organization that drafted him at No. 2 overall in 2007, and an even slimmer chance that he would join forces with the struggling Lakers as things stand now.

But recent comments spoke volumes for his admiration for a basketball legend and began fanning the free-agent flames among Lakers fans desperate for a spark.

Per Sam Amick of USA Today Sports, Durant unequivocally slammed the idea that other players are turned off by the idea of playing with Bryant, and he went as far as to embrace the idea of playing alongside Kobe: 

I want to play with a winner every single night, especially somebody who wants to win that bad, who works that hard, who demands a lot, who raises up your level. I'd want to play with a guy like that every day. ... (His style) may make people uncomfortable, how he acts and just how he approaches the game, but I love that type of stuff. I think (the accusation) is BS.

And if there was any room for doubt after that, Durant quickly dispelled it, launching into what specifically he admired about the longtime Lakers leader:

Just his work ethic, just his demeanor man. He doesn't mind being an (expletive), and he comes to work man. He's intense. He demands a lot out of his teammates, and I've seen that just playing alongside him in the Olympics (in 2012). He demands a lot out of everybody. He makes them better. Everybody out on the court. You've got to respect tha...

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