The Los Angeles Lakers are in unfamiliar territory as they are looking the rebuild their team after an abysmal season. The Lakers did not have Kobe Bryant for majority of the season due a knee injury suffered after returning from an Achilles injury.
Though Bryant was injured this season, he received a hefty contract that will pay him a guaranteed $48.5 million dollars over the next two seasons. The Lakers contract is basically a parting gift for Bryant since they know that he will be retiring soon. The Lakers have a lot of holes on their roster, and they are on the quest for a head coach.
The market for coaches are pretty good, but it takes a special breed of coach to deal with Bryant, who is a five-time champion and wants to give it one last try to get his sixth ring.
The Lakers have a lot of cash and a top-10 pick in the NBA Draft, but will the Lakers improve overnight? Bryant will put pressure on the organization to win now, but that may not be the best remedy. The Brooklyn Nets tried a win-now philosophy last season, and it failed miserably. They are out of draft picks for the next few seasons.
Bryant has to understand a team starting from scratch will have a very tough time even making the playoffs in the brutal western conference. Bryant and the Lakers faithful better pray that they land Kevin Love or Carmelo Anthony as well as draft a player who gives them an immediate impact.
The organization is in a tough place because they owe Bryant at least one good try at a title run, but the timing seems to be way off. I know Bryant has given the Lakers 18 years of hard work, dedication and championships, but it wouldn’t be wise to target a short-term fix to chase a title.
It remains to be seen if Bryant will return to the player he was prior to injury. Father Time is creeping on Bryant, but he is doing all that he can to defy what many has yet to do. I believe that Bryant can return to being a great player, but the other 14 players on the team may not be to his liking.
The Lakers are in a tough position, and GM Mitch Kupchak has some crucial decisions to make prior to next season. Taking care of Bryant’s needs may seem like the ideal move, but a win-now philosophy can set the franchise back. If you don’t believe me, just wait and see how the Brooklyn Nets will look in a few seasons.