With a revamped front office and plenty of cap room, the Los Angeles Lakers are hoping to land meetings with the biggest free agents on the market this summer, including, but not limited to, LeBron James, Paul George and DeMarcus Cousins.
During these meetings, it’s not uncommon to see teams bring in all-time franchise greats and public figures to help pitch the city and the organization. The Lakers can and will likely go this route due to the organization’s rich history of being home to some of the NBA’s all-time greats, but they will be without the help of arguably the most popular player in the Lakers history, Kobe Bryant.
Bryant has already gone on record saying he has no desire to help the Lakers pitch free agents in and he held firm on that stance in a recent interview with Alex Kennedy on “The Hoops Hype Podcast.”
No. I’ll call, but I’m not going to be in the meeting. Listen, I’m not part of the organization in any professional way. For the players themselves, if the players have questions or want me to reach out and call a player and talk to the player and give my two cents on what it was like to play in this market, I’ll certainly do that, but in terms of being part of the meeting in any official way, the answer is no.”
This hardly comes as a surprise considering the type of person Bryant is. Since walking away from the NBA in 2016, Bryant has completely shifted his focus to the film and television industry, where he has already enjoyed early success as a writer and director. In the past year alone, Bryant has won an Oscar and a Sports Emmy for his animated storytelling of the poem he wrote to announce his retirement, “Dear Basketball.”
How many Oscars do Michael Jordan or LeBron James have again? I forget.
With his good friend (of which he apparently has few) Rob Pelinka running things in Los Angeles, one would have assumed Bryant would be more willing to be a part of the Lakers’ pitches to free agents, however, that doesn’t seem to be the case. Plus, if they want a Lakers legend in the room, Magic Johnson is the team’s president of basketball operations.
But hopefully the Lakers won’t need Bryant’s assistance because they’ll be selling free agents on a product built around basketball, not the lore of the Lakers. With an exciting young core and the financial flexibility to form a super team, they might able to do just that.