Kupchak was pretty blunt about it:
That was apparently news enough that it made the front page of ESPN.com.
But seriously, why would Kupchak even have to say that? Are Lakers fans really so delusional that they think that Kobe Bryant is still relevant enough to have a say in who the head coach will be?
Oh wait... he had to mention it because Kobe mentioned on Jimmy Kimmel's TV show that he hopes the Lakers let him offer input on the new head coach, since they didn't do that before hiring Mike Brown or Mike D'Antoni.
People desperately need a reality check when it comes to aging superstars. Including the superstars themselves.
Kobe Bryant is 35 years old, and will be 36 before next season starts. That's pretty old for a shooting guard who bases his entire game off his quickness, and it's even older for a guy like Kobe who started his NBA career straight out of high school.
He already has 18 seasons under his belt, even if he only played 6 games in 2013-14.
Face it: Kobe Bryant is on the tail end of his career. If he's the best player on the Lakers next year, they're going to be looking at yet another trip to the lottery.
Bryant might be on the Lakers for another two seasons, which is the duration of his contract. He has the highest salary in the NBA ($30.453M), more than 30% higher than the next highest paid player (Dirk Nowitzki at $22.721M). The Lakers were insane to give him his current two-year extension, and they'd be even crazier to give him anything else on top of that.
At the most, unless the Lakers absolutely lose their minds, Kobe will be with the team for another two seasons, and he'll be a good role player, at best.
If they make a good hire, we could be looking at someone who coaches the Lakers for 5-10 years or more, and brings them back to a championship level if all goes well. It's almost a guarantee that Kobe won't be a part of that process as a player, thanks to his declining skills and crippling contract.
So why would Mitch Kupchak even have to discuss the possibility of Kobe choosing the next head coach?
Is this even real life?