Kobe Bryant Calls 'Players Only' Meeting To Discuss Trade Rumors

Feb. 20, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant (24) takes the ball down court during the second half of the game against the Portland Trail Blazers at the Staples Center. Lakers won 103-92. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE

(SB Nation Los Angeles, Scott Coleman) The Los Angeles Lakers picked up a big victory on Monday night as they knocked off the Portland Trail Blazers with a stellar defensive effort. While players-only meetings typically come after a tough loss or amid a losing streak, Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher called for one anyway.

As for why, reports are indicating it was for nothing more than to set the tone for the second half of the season, especially with trade rumors likely to surround the team in the coming weeks.

Here was a tidbit from the latest update, courtesy of ESPN's Chris Broussard:

Their message was clear: Trade rumors do not matter; your feelings about management or the coaching staff don't matter; all that matters is that the 14 men in that locker room support and believe in one another. If they stay together and stay on the same page, they can get to where they want to go as a team.

The Lakers have a tough stretch of games coming up, including showdowns with Oklahoma City and Dallas this week, and it will be interesting to see how the team responds after the meeting. There is definitely no lack of leadership with this team and Lakers fans can only hope the strong defensive play continues.

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