Kobe Bryant, Mitch Kupchak: Current Lakers Can Still Win

by May 12, 2011
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Despite the numerous calls to blow this Laker team up following their shocking Playoff sweep, Kobe and his GM believe there’s no need to do anything dramatic roster-wise (something, of course, they’ve yet to discuss with the man who signs the checks: Jerry Buss.) From the LA Times: “Kobe Bryant met with reporters for the last time this season in a crowded, sweltering, uncomfortable room, which was entirely fitting. He called this season a ‘wasted year of my life,’ understandable because he wanted to catch Michael Jordan in the worst way but was still one championship shy. It kills him to no end. But neither Bryant nor General Manager Mitch Kupchak painted sketches of an imploding Lakers franchise, seemingly satisfied with the crux of a roster that fell well short of another championship parade. ‘In terms of this being the decline of the Lakers, this is nonsense,’ Bryant said Wednesday. ‘I remember they had a pretty good era in the ’80s and they didn’t win three in a row. They didn’t break that team up. Do I believe we can come back and win it again? I absolutely believe that. If this team came back as is, I believe we can win.’ The Lakers have plenty of time to analyze their roster, though they’re too far over the salary cap to sign anything but a mid-level free agent. They have four second-round picks in next month’s NBA draft, though none higher than No. 41 in what is only a so-so selection of players. Basically, all the Lakers can do is make trades. They got lucky in 2008 when Pau Gasol arrived and became the second-best player on a two-championship run. There’s no predicting future success this time. ‘There’s really nobody out there looking to help the Lakers,’ Kupchak said. ‘With the core players that we have intact, we do think that we can continue to contend. We may have to look to improve certain areas.”