These Pros Aint Loyal
The days of franchise players and the teams that drafted them riding with each other till players age out of the league are long gone. Present-day players like LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Bosh have made leaving teams in search of success the norm. Kobe himself was on a team that reached the NBA Finals with past their prime versions of Gary Payton and Karl Malone, who were both willing to become pieces if it meant winning a championship. Even the GOAT Michael Jordan ended his career with another team.
No matter how personal the relationship between teams and players might seem, It’s just business at the end of the day. Kobe’s been in the league long enough to understand that.
Kobe Can Still Get It Done
ESPN made waves with a ridiculous declaration that even Kobe haters had to laugh at, ranking Bryant as the 40th best player in the league this year. Trolling for clicks is obvious when it’s that laughable, so Bryant didn’t have much to say outside of ESPN’s collection of experts were idiots. But his best retorts have come on the court. So far, he’s averaging 24.8 points, 3 assists and 4 rebounds per game, just slightly under his career averages. On a team that could actually make the playoffs, that would be significant for real. But not on the Lakers because...
The Lakers Won’t Be Title Contenders...
For mad long, fam. Even a young, prime, 81-points in a single game Kobe couldn’t save these muthafuckas. The roster just isn’t that strong. Now with rookie phenom Julius Randle, a player who everyone seemingly saw a lot of promise in, out for the season with broken leg, there’s no real shot at the playoffs. Add that to the fact that the team has zero trade assets and, well... you’re looking at what till most likely be the Lakers roster for the next few seasons.
Playing For Another Team Might Prolong His Career
Look at some of Kobe’s counterparts. Kevin Garnett is still out here looking crazy and raising energy levels out in Brooklyn. Paul Pierce is teaching the emerging youngins’ out in Washington what it means to have playoff level toughness. Ray Allen, who isn’t currently on a roster, can still shoot at high levels and has won titles because of it. Even making one of the most memorable shots in NBA Finals history with the Heat.
There are several teams where Kobe could make a real impact on, right now. That move to the Clippers that never happened years ago, makes even more sense now. Kobe could give Blake Griffin and the Clippers something Chris Paul just can’t: Deep playoff run experience. Staying out west, pairing Kobe with the youngest superstar Anthony Davis would shake up the league and make the New Orleans Pelicans automatic title contenders. A move out east to the Knicks would not only be headline news, but would also put Kobe with Carmelo Anthony, one of his few actual NBA friends, and reunite him with long time teammate, Knicks head coach Derek Fisher, and the man who helped make him a champion, Knicks GM Phil Jackson.
Kobe’s Already The Greatest Laker Ever
At this point, there’s nothing else outside of bringing the Lakers another championship that Kobe could do to further his lore as the greatest Laker ever. Each game is a slow reminder that he’ll never be able to do that. Not with this team, not at his age. So, it’s time to go and utilize what he has left in the tank with a title contending team. Magic has his statue, Shaq has his jersey retired. Kobe will surely have both and, if he stays healthy through December, will most likely pass MJ on the all time NBA scoring list as a Laker. That will make his Purple & Gold journey complete. Leaving room for him to leave to get ring number 6.