The Los Angeles Lakers will shut down superstar Kobe Bryant for the remainder of the season in order for him to nurse his fractured knee. This does not come by surprise mainly because the franchise has nothing to play for at this point. Los Angeles is tied for the worst record in the Western Conference, so allowing Bryant to comeback would basically be like throwing him to a pack of wolves.
Aside from Bryant’s injury, multiple sources reported today that he also has no intention of playing for head coach Mike D’Antoni next season. Certainly a harsh way to put it, but then again this is Kobe Bryant — he is not exactly known for having a filter. This news should be uplifting for Lakers fans as the D’Antoni experiment has not gone as planned. Somebody of high ranking needed to speak up within the organization.
Defense has been the ultimate downfall for the team, allowing the second most points to opponents in the entire NBA. This effort is in no way acceptable for a team of such high caliber as the Lakers. Of course the blame cannot all be placed upon D’Antoni’s shoulders, but it’s time to move on. Inconsistent lineups, personal grudges, and lack of emphasis on defense is not going to win any team a championship.
With Kobe Bryant speaking up regarding his displeasure, management would be foolish not to listen to him. It is believed that owner Jim Buss has refused to fire D’Antoni because of his ego. However, in his league you cannot let egos get in the way of making the correct decision for the franchise. Realistically, Bryant has only a couple of more seasons left in the tank and he can’t afford to waste them due to the management’s own stupidity. Buss must make this hiring his priority in order to makeup for balking on the chance at re-hiring Phil Jackson last season.
The question now is, who is next? There are not many big named coaches on the market at the moment. Jeff Van Gundy as well as Stan Van Gundy may be viable options if either of them are up to the challenge of building this team from the bottom up. Whoever ends up receiving the offer must be a veteran coach who has dealt with this sort of situation. I’m sure Bryant will have some say in any decision regarding the coaching change.