We are in the midst of Kobe Bryant’s swan song — though no one, not even Kobe himself, knows when the music will stop — and the Los Angeles Lakers are looking ahead.
The organization expects their 36-year old superstar to hobble away after the 2015-’16 campaign, and they want to make him look good in the process.
Head coach Byron Scott has asked Bryant to sit out for the eighth time in the last 15 games Monday, and says it’s part of the plan for Kobe’s grand send-off next season.
Per the LA Times:
Looking ahead was “part of the process,” Lakers Coach Byron Scott acknowledged Monday, mentioning team executives Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss. “Obviously, that’s what I’m trying to do and I know Mitch and Jim and everybody, they’re all on board with that as well. We knew this was going to be a tough year, but we also wanted some answers and the answer, especially with Kobe, is he obviously could still play at a very high level.”
The goal with Bryant this season, Scott said, now is to get “as much out of him as possible but also to get him to the point where next year he can also play at that high level again and not spend everything he has this year. Because if he plays every game, that’s what he’s going to do — he’s going to go out and play the hardest that he can possibly play and then probably have to take the whole summer to try to recuperate. And that’s just not him either. He wants to continue to work to get better.”
Scott again used the word “preserve” before describing his mind-set in sitting Bryant. […] “Again, just trying to get his body where it’s not as sore, hurting. He said the other day, ‘It just aches everywhere,’ ” Scott said. “I know it’s not going to be to the point where even four days or five days of rest means he’s going to come back and feel great. But he [ideally] feels good enough to be able to go out there and play, like he did against Cleveland.”