While these are valid concerns, there are still plenty of reasons why Kobe Bryant is highly valuable to the Lakers, both the fans and the team. The first, and most obvious, is that he will always come prepared to play every game.
The Lakers don't have anyone else, with the possible exception of Metta World Peace, who comes to play every single night, no matter what, and never gives up. The image of Andrew Bynum staring into space, thinking about fishing, while Kobe was trying to keep the Lakers in the playoffs is forever burned into the minds of Lakers fans. That was not the face of a winner.
Now, that's not to say that Bynum isn't a winner, because he absolutely is. However, every team needs someone who is the heart, and with the loss of Lamar Odom and Derek Fisher Kobe is that heart. Simers did bring up an interesting stat:
"And Kobe hit 32.7% of his shots down the stretch to place him 109th in the NBA in field-goal percentage. When Bynum was given the chance to shoot in the closing stages of a game, he was successful 82% of the time to place No. 1 in the NBA."
That is a stat a lot of people will use to make their case against Kobe, as Simers does, however, it can't be denied that he has willed that team into many a win. It isn't smart for Kobe to play in the Olympics this summer, professionally, but it is completely understandable why he would want to. He will pay for it next regular season, but he's still not the Lakers' biggest problem.