Los Angeles Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak's repeated public declarations that he sees Jordan Clarkson and D'Angelo Russell as the Lakers' backcourt for the next decade has increased speculation that Kobe Bryant will play primarily small forward next season, likely his last in the NBA after playing shooting guard for the vast majority of his Hall of Fame career.
Bryant himself has accepted this change, at least according to Lakers head athletic trainer Gary Vitti, who told Mike Bresnahan of the L.A. Times Bryant said "I can do that" when told of the Lakers' plans to play him at the three. This move allows the Lakers to keep their three most dynamic wing options in the starting lineup and mirrors head coach Byron Scott's comments to NBA.com's David Aldridge earlier this week that Bryant would be "playing more small forward next season."
While Bryant told Vitti this with "absolute, 100% confidence", Vitti sounded less certain that Bryant could play all 82 games there at 37-years of age, telling Bresnahan "that's going to be the big question with Kobe, and we're just going to have to feel it out. It's been a while since he's played. We just need to see." Whether Bryant makes it through the season healthy or not, it will still be fun to watch him in the starting lineup with the guards the Lakers hope can take the reins from him after this campaign.