Kobe Bryant is Los Angeles Lakers Biggest Problem

6/25/12 in NBA   |   AJ_88   |   166 respect

Expanding upon T.J. Simers piece in the Sunday Los Angeles Times, Kobe has become the biggest obstacle for the Lakers entering the next two seasons. His declining skills combined with his crippling contract make it impossible to move him (I know, trading Kobe?! Unthinkable). But listen for just a second. He is no longer the Kobe that we used to know. Everyone can agree on that. He's also due to earn close to $30 million in each of the next two seasons which not only makes him immovable, but also cripples the Lakers financially as they are unable to attract free agents without the financial wherewithal to make it happen.

Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum are due to make $19 million and $16 million respectively next season as well. The Lakers are screwed, right? This team can only go so far, i.e. second round of the playoffs. Kobe is no longer the clutch leader of a championship caliber team, but no one will tell him that. As he approaches age 34, Bryant's decline is apparent to all except himself. He can't be the centerpiece of a team trying to win a championship any longer and for this reason, the Lakers need a player like Deron Williams to lead the show. 

May 19, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA;   Oklahoma City Thunder power forward Serge Ibaka (9) fouls Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant (24) in the first half of game four in the Western Conference semi finals of the 2012 NBA Playoffs at the Staples Center.  Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIREAs far as we know, the Lakers have dangled Gasol, but the Nets haven't taken the bait as they refuse to part with their prized point guard without getting Andrew Bynum in return. The Lakers have so far been unwilling to deal Bynum after sticking with him through thick and thin in his first seven seasons as an NBA pro. The Lakers need to make a move that will keep Kobe off the ball more often because he needs to play more like Richard Hamilton for the Lakers to be successful. Coming off screens, curling and throwing his pump fake in the lane will free him up for trips to the free throw line or easy buckets for the big man down low. 

Kobe Bryant is the biggest thing standing in the Lakers way. Can he accept a lesser role if the Lakers were to acquire a guy like D-Will? Can his ego take the hit? Will he self destruct and kill any chance the Lakers have at seriously competing for a championship over the next two seasons? Or will the Clippers overtake the Lakers next season and begin Kobe's true demise? 

It all hinges on how big a blow Kobe's ego can handle. 
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