The Los Angeles Lakers may only have one more season with Kobe Bryant in the lead, and the future NBA Hall of Famer wants it to be a great one.
Though the Lakers are buried in the basement of the Western Conference, Kobe apparently already has his eyes trained to the next season, pushing the team to acquire point guard Rajon Rondo.
The Lakers lost out on the Rondo sweepstakes last month when the Boston Celtics traded him to the Dallas Mavericks, but Kobe Bryant said he doesn’t want his team to give up just yet.
“No way,” Bryant told the Boston Herald in Wednesday’s editions. “I’m not done. I’m not stopping until he signs an extension.”
Rondo will become an unrestricted free agent this summer, and though the Mavericks are reportedly trying to lock Rondo down with a long-term extension, there has been no deal yet.
Kobe Bryant has made it clear in the past that he wants Rondo on the Los Angeles Lakers. He has praised Rondo publicly many times, and in early December the two grabbed breakfast together in Boston during a Lakers road trip.
Kobe has also gone up against Rondo in the NBA Finals twice, losing in 2008 and then winning in 2010.
Acquiring Rajon Rondo this off-season would be a major coup for Kobe Bryant and the Lakers. They were deep in the running to acquire him earlier this season, but their package that included a number of expiring contracts and a first round pick by way of the Houston Rockets wasn’t enough.
With Rondo running the point next year and a still capable Kobe Bryant joining him in the back court, the Lakers may be able to crawl their way back into contention in an increasingly tough Western Conference. Bryant has committed to playing through next season but hasn’t made any statements beyond that.
The rumors that the Los Angeles Lakers could go after Rajon Rondo again puts point guard Jeremy Lin in even greater question. Though he came to the team with hopes of one day taking the mantle from Kobe, Lin has found his playing time dwindling and now is reportedly on the trade block.