The Los Angeles Lakers are facing trade rumors that point to something once unthinkable — ending the 2014-15 season without either Kobe Bryant or Steve Nash on the roster.
The team came into the season hoping for what is likely its last chance for a title run, with Kobe’s career winding to a close. But instead, they have started 1-8 and look out of place against the top contenders in the West. A broken leg for rookie Julius Randle and a season-ending injury to Steve Nash has cast an even bigger shadow over this season, making it unlikely that the Lakers will be able to turn things around.
The poor start has led to rumors that the Los Angeles Lakers could already move into rebuilding mode, which means trading Kobe Bryant while he still has a high enough value. It would likely be difficult given Bryant’s two-year, $48.5 million contract, but there are reportedly a handful of teams looking to land Kobe.
But trading Kobe Bryant may bring diminishing returns for the Los Angeles Lakers. Bryant has struggled this year, and recently had his worst day as a pro with a 1-for-9 shooting day against the San Antonio Spurs. Kobe admitted afterward that his age is catching up with them.
“I don’t feel too good, but I’m used to playing through that,” Bryant said. “It’s just tough, man. Tonight was one of those nights that make me really remember the challenge of being 36 [years old] and being 19 years in, and the body just won’t respond. You’re sick, and you used to be able to fight through those things. It just helps me remember exactly what I’m facing.”
Kobe Bryant isn’t the only one rumored to be on the trade block for the Los Angeles Lakers. After his injury, Steve Nash has cut off contact with the team, not returning any calls from coach Byron Scott. This has led to reports that the Lakers could be looking to deal Nash.
The Lakers had reportedly hoped that, despite the season-ending injury, Nash might stay with the team and help mentor younger players.
“I would like to (hear from Nash), but I don’t know,” Lakers coach Byron Scott said. “I gave him a call, but I haven’t gotten a return call. So we’ll see.”
If the rumors are true, and the Los Angeles Lakers do look to trade Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash, the moves may not come until later in the season, closer to the trade deadline.