Kobe Bryant just couldn’t go another minute without getting headlines. So, yesterday at his basketball camp (at Loyola Marymount) he told the audience at a press conference that he had met with Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak in person and apologized for his remarks and public request for a trade.
“As a man, it was important for me to tell him, ‘I’m sorry it came out that way.’ I was frustrated, I was venting. I haven’t thought about (the trade request) in a long, long time. I’ve kind of stepped away from that. I’ve concentrated on Team USA. What I say is what I say. We’ll just have to see where it goes.”
It has been nearly five weeks since Bryant publicly issued his trade demand. Since then he has softened, hardened and, once again, softened his stance. He wouldn’t say he had backed off his demand, but his comments obviously speak volumes. Kobe knows he isn’t going anywhere. Obviously someone discussed the situation (it was likely Phil Jackson, Jerry West or Magic Johnson) and talked him off the ledge.
But the larger issue here is that I don’t think any Laker fans were that upset with Bryant, simply because we all feel the same way. We’re used to winning, not struggling to get to .500. The front office hasn’t made any moves to improve the roster and it’s not like there is a wealth of young talent to show for the three meager “rebuilding” years. We all agreed with Kobe when he went off. Some of us felt like demanding a trade ourselves. It’s nice to see that Kobe is back with the family, so to speak, but that doesn’t mean that the roster isn’t in need of a total overhaul. Get it done Mitch, or Kobe will be apologizing to someone else next offseason.