With his Los Angeles Lakers already at 0-5 and off to one of the franchise’s worse early season starts in history, speculation is building that Kobe Bryant may not be long for the only NBA franchise he has ever known.
While the 36-year-old Hall of Fame bound Bryant has long expressed his affinity for L.A. in general and being a Laker in particular, several media outlets are now envisioning scenarios where the team might now be open to entertaining offers for the league’s No. 4 all-time greatest scorer.
According to SI.com, the Lakers could be swayed by a package that includes, say, a young rising player and a future, high-ranking, first-round draft pick.
Such a move could ultimately free up somewhere in the neighborhood of around $30-plus million in salary cap space for the L.A., paving the way for the franchise to perhaps pursue such potential free agents as Kawhi Leonard, Greg Monroe, Marc Gasol, Al Jefferson or Brooks Lopez.
Another possibility being bandied about in NBA circles has Bryant possibly destined for New York and a reunion with longtime mentor and one-time coach Phil Jackson, who now serves as president of basketball operations for the Knicks.
Jackson and Bryant previously won five titles together in L.A. and Jackson has made no secret this season about being interested in adding another high-profile player schooled in the ways of his famed triangle offense to the mix in NYC.
Armed with a no-trade contract, any such deal would require Bryant’s approval. To date, the veteran guard has remained steadfast in professing his preference for being a lifelong Laker, but with the team almost assuredly headed for purgatory this season, who knows just how long that sense of loyalty might persist?[Photo Credit: Aaron Frutman]
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