Kobe Bryant has experienced probably the most tumultuous season of his prolific 19-year career. Apart from the undeniable fact that the Los Angeles Lakers are amidst a massive rebuilding project, Bryant has struggled to locate his niche with this poorly constructed roster.
Bryant began the year firing away an inordinate quantity of field goal attempts, now the head coach Byron Scott admittedly ran him into the ground. Bryant had some Soreness after a game in late December vs. the Sacramento Kings, where he attempted 30 field goals, hitting just eight. Ever since then, Bryant has missed eight of 16 games with the cited reason being rest. But when he get’s on the court, though, he appears uncomfortable, unable to locate any fluidity as a result of inconsistent playing time.
The latest example coming during Wednesday night’s fiasco vs. the New Orleans Pelicans once the shooting guard scored an inefficient 14 points alongside 7 rebounds. Bryant was not himself on the court, handling and shooting the ball with his left hand. At some point, trainer Gary Vitti approached Scott on the sidelines advising him of the situation, and Bryant stayed in the game way too long. Now a MRI will be conducted on his right shoulder to measure the damage.
At this time, as the Lakers drop to 12-31, it is in the organization’s best interest to shut Bryant down for the rest of the season. The mere undeniable fact that Bryant is uncharacteristically prepared to shut it down must be sufficient evidence to management. He’s even pondered the thought of retiring after in 2010, despite being owed excess of $25 million next season. Though retirement is a very unlikely escape route, father time is nothing to tempt. Since the cliche phrase goes, father time is undefeated.
Having said that, Bryant’s health will heavily impact free agent recruitment next offseason. Los Angeles is still a nice-looking destination, regardless of the rumblings that could go the other way. However, no marquee free agents will be drooling to become listed on forces with a haggled Kobe Bryant solely as a result of mismanagement. How Mitch Kupchak, Jim Buss and Byron Scott handle this predicament could have lasting effects on the ongoing future of this franchise