Over the past week rumors circulated that Kobe Bryant was irate that the Los Angeles Lakers had traded long-time teammate Lamar Odom and that he was going to demand a trade from the team. Those reports were apparently completely unfounded.
In an extensive interview published today, the 33-year-old Bryant had the following to say about rumors that he was considering asking for a trade:
“I don’t know where that comes from. I don’t have any feeling about (leaving) whatsoever.”
When asked if he wanted to stay with the Lakers, Bryant had this to say:
“Of course. No question. Why not? I’ve been here 16 years. I’m going to up and leave now?”
Clearly Bryant has no plans to leave the Lakers, though I’m sure it was hard to see a teammate and friend like Odom leave town. The thing is, Odom asked for that trade after the Lakers had agreed to send him to New Orleans in the vetoed Chris Paul deal. A few days after it Odom was shipped to Dallas, Bryant said that players couldn’t take things (like the failed Paul deal) personally the way Odom had.
In the interview Bryant also discussed the health of his long-troubled right knee. He underwent platelet-rich plasma therapy in Germany this season and claims to feel much better.
“I know my knee feels 90 percent better. Anything I want. I can run. I can jump. I can run the track. I can lift weights the way I want to life weights. I can practice every day. Those are things I couldn’t do last year.”
If Bryant really is healthier than he has been over the past few years, that could mean that the Lakers aren’t as down and out as people have been suggesting over the past week or so.