How badly the Los Angeles Lakers want Kobe Bryant to help their organization is hardly a secret. Lakers President of Basketball Operations and General Manager Rob Pelinka have both spoken about it multiple times, although Bryant has always said in interviews he’s much more open to a behind-the-scenes role.
That’s fine with Johnson, although the type of backstage assistance Bryant is giving the Lakers might be a little bit unexpected.
"We're happy that Kobe wants to be a part of the Lakers organization,” Johnson said during an interview on ESPN Los Angeles. “Right now we're just picking his brain about the players, because Kobe played with a lot of the guys that we have. We're picking his brain about some of the things that he sees that maybe we could do.”
The Lakers asking Bryant for his opinion of their own players is interesting, if nothing else because he’s always had a... mixed... reputation as a teammate. It would be fascinating to be a fly on the wall in those meetings and fight out what Bryant really thinks of the Lakers’ young core and their various skill sets.
Helping those same players grow their skill sets has been the far more popular suggestion from fans for what Bryant’s role should be, and it’s still something that’s in the Lakers plans.
“Some of the players have reached out to him and want to work out with him because everybody knows he's famous for his workouts,” Johnson said.
Brandon Ingram has already revealed what he wants to learn from his future sessions with Bryant. It’s unknown when that will happen, but Johnson said the team is just excited to have him in the fold.
“We're excited about whatever he wants to do. Whatever time he wants to give, we're happy to take that time,” Johnson said.
Harrison Faigen is co-host of the Locked on Lakers podcast (subscribe here), and you can follow him on Twitter at @hmfaigen.