Didn’t everyone and their dog outside of the Los Angeles Lakers’ fan base say the team shouldn’t have extended Kobe Bryant’s contract? Did we not say he would never return to his Hall of Fame-level of play at age 35 coming off a torn Achilles tendon? Did we not also say his health would only continue to decline? And now look what happened. He fractured his tibia (knee) and will miss at least six weeks with this injury, less than two weeks after his 2013-14 NBA season debut. Still think that contract extension was a good idea, Lakers fans? Didn’t think so.
First of all, the Lakers are below .500 and weren’t exactly a good team with Bryant in the lineup. He played in six games, averaging less than 14 points and the Lakers went 2-4 in that stretch. Does that sound like a team on its way to another title run in the twilight years of its star?
Folks, Kobe is a monster and there’s no denying his incredible drive because he came back from the Achilles tendon, which isn’t expected for most NBA players, especially ones at his age. But that doesn’t mean he’s going to carry the Lakers through the playoffs and even if he did, Lord knows L.A. would be swept by the likes of the Indiana Pacers or Miami Heat in the NBA Finals.
All of the Pau Gasol trade talk is legit because the Lakers’ brass realizes that the end of the era is near and they were foolish to give Kobe that extension because now they have no hope of landing one of the three big-name free agents in 2014: LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Dwyane Wade.
Kobe will play again, but he’ll never be the same, especially after this latest injury. The guy is a legend and he should be regarded as such, but when it’s time to hang it up, there’s nothing even he can do about it.