Lakers News: Analyzing Plans for Kobe Bryant and Current Trade Buzz

One play sums up Kobe Bryant's highly anticipated return to the Los Angeles Lakers Tuesday night: his last-second, rim-rattling miss as his team fell at home to the 17-21 Miami Heat.

Still, Lakers fans got what they wanted to see this season:

In a sense, things are back to normal. Bryant is in the lineup and taking more shots than anybody on the roster. Only slightly normal, as the days when Bryant returns and plays the hero are far over—he went 3-of-19 from the field with 12 points, tied for the team high.

Mitch Kupchak and the front office are in rebuild mode, which means Bryant's future blotches of playing time, as well as the construction of the roster as a whole, remain very much up in the air.


Preserving The Mamba

Father time doesn't lose battles—even with Kobe Bryant. 

Bryant was horrific Tuesday night, as numbers provided by ESPN Stats & Info show:

Struggles upon a return are natural, though, and the Lakers are not going to panic over one poor performance.

More important to the staff is how much Bryant has left in the tank over the course of the next season and a half.

See, this is somewhat of a normal rebuild. Normally the Lakers go all-in and never have to experience a season like this, but the front office has its eyes on next year's free agency and continues to add young building blocks in the meantime.

The Lakers want Bryant to be 100 percent for next season, which, in terms of planning, is the season. Coach Byron Scott echoed the desires of the front office recently.

“The one thing we want to do with a year remaining on his contract is make sure that he can play as much as possible that year," Scott said, per Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times. "The more minutes that I play him [now] is probably the worst thing ...

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