How Can Lakers Both Appease Kobe Bryant and Build Intelligently?

Kobe Bryant is chafing at the bit to get past a wretched season in which he played just six games due to injury.

The five-time NBA Champion begins a two-year contract extension worth $48.5 million next fall, taking him through his 20th and presumably final season with the Los Angeles Lakers.

For a superstar so consumed with winning, that extension will unfortunately coincide with a major rebuild.

In a recent press conference, Bryant expressed his dissatisfaction with the team’s culture and his expectation that the front office will complete that rebuild sooner rather than later. Per the transcript, Bryant talked about change needing to start at the top:

Well, you have to start with Jim (Buss) and Jeanie (Buss), and how that relationship plays out. It starts with having a clear direction and clear authority. Then it goes down to the coaching staff, what Mike (D’Antoni) is going to do, what they want to do with Mike and it goes from there. It’s gotta start from the top.

It’s an appropriate lead-in for how the team can both appease the face of their franchise and build intelligently for the future. And it starts with mending fences.


A Bridge Over Troubled Water

On Tuesday evening, Lakers president Jeanie Buss sat down with Bill Macdonald and TWC Sports Access for a wide-ranging interview. Per the transcript by Trevor Wong for, Buss compared Bryant’s competitiveness with that of her fiancé Phil Jackson—a guy who’s been in the news lately as the newly minted president of basketball operations for the New York Knicks:

"If that competitiveness is not fed or does not have an outlet, it can drive you crazy. So I understand his frustration and I will talk to him and I will commiserate with him because I know how he feels."

It’s all well and good for Jeanie to expr...

About the Author