What Los Angeles Lakers’ 2013 Offseason Strategy Means for Kobe Bryant’s Future

Almost two decades into their relationship, the Los Angeles Lakers are still building around Kobe Bryant.

Make no mistake, Mitch Kupchak, and the rest of the front office, is still attempting to position Los Angeles for life after the Black Mamba. They won't watch Kobe ride off into the California sunset a few years from now in a panicked stupor. A plan will have been hatched and put into motion.

Until that day comes, the Lakers are still Kobe's team. If there were ever any doubts about that before, they were extinguished on the heels of a report by ESPN's Marc Stein and Ramona Shelburne. The two posited that Dwight Howard asked the Lakers to sever ties with Kobe beyond next season, and they weren't having it. 

Seventeen years into his NBA career, Kobe is still the man in Tinseltown. The Lakers would never move forward without him in mind, and this offseason has proved to be no exception.

Howard is now a member of the Houston Rockets, Earl Clark joined the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Lakers paid Metta World Peace to leave. None of that sits will with the ever-competitive Kobe, whose first and only inclination was to keep the team intact as much as possible, and make a run next season.

Los Angeles went ahead and amnestied World Peace anyway, leaving the still recuperating Kobe to battle next season alongside a ream of odds and ends, many of which are misfits or perennial rejects.

Chris Kaman accepted a pay cut like it was 2009, and the Lakers were gearing up for another dynasty run.

Nick Young took his volume-shooting talents to Hollywood at a steep discount to play for the team he always dreamt of suiting up for.

Playing next to Young and Kaman (and Wesley Johnson), without Metta, or even Dwight, was never Kobe's dream. He's dreamed about continued success, of titles. And that's it.

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