The Los Angeles Lakers are 0-5 for the first time since 1957-58, Steve Nash is out for the season and so is rookie Julius Randle.
Might it be time for the Lakers to trade Kobe Bryant and start to build for the future? In a word, probably. But will that actually happen? In two words, probably not.
“None of it’s going to happen,” NBA.com writer Sekou Smith said on The Morning Show. “He’s going to put up a record number of shots, he’s going to score a lot of points, he’s going to be miserable and he’s going to make the guys that he plays with miserable. He did this before. He did this a few years ago when the Lakers were down in the dumps, and he threatened to do this (and that) and he threatened to demand a trade. He’s not going there again. There’s 48 million reasons why he’s going to be loyal and take the arrows for the Lakers this time.
“But there’s no chance (he’s leaving),” Smith continued. “Kobe’s a guy that’s hell-bent on winning his way and winning on his own terms, and he’s crazy enough to still think he can do it in LA, which we all are watching and we all know it’s not possible.”
Bryant scored 39 points on 37 shots in a 112-106 home loss to Phoenix on Tuesday. He also had nine rebounds and just one assist.
If the Lakers continue to lose and their record becomes embarrassing, is it possible Bryant could bolt Los Angeles for New York for a chance to play for Derek Fisher and with Carmelo Anthony? Is that even in the realm of possibilities?
“No, I don’t (think so),” Smith said. “I don’t. I think part of the problem is this is not a mess of his making. This is something that (general manager) Mitch Kupchak and (owner) Jim Buss screwed up.”
But that doesn’t mean Bryant has to accept it.
“No, but he knows ultimately the responsibility is not his,” Smith said. “No one’s going to blame him for the Lakers being crappy. This was something that’s out of his hands. They had a chance to make this right and get Phil Jackson back. Pau Gasol would probably still be in a Lakers uniform. Dwight Howard would. And instead, they went for Steve Nash and Mike D’Antoni. That wasn’t Kobe’s choice. He didn’t make that choice. And he knows he didn’t.
“So at the end of the day,” Smith continued, “he’s going to be able to say, ‘Look, I was a company guy. I stuck around through the thick and the thin, the good and the bad, and somebody else messed this up.’ And it sounds like a lame excuse and a weak defense, but it’s the truth.”
The Lakers, who rank dead last in the league in scoring defense (116.8 points allowed per game), host Charlotte (1-3) this Sunday at 9:30 p.m. ET.