The Los Angeles Lakers are rumored to be preparing for the post-Kobe Bryant era now, taking a hard look at a Team USA guard for potential backcourt help and veteran leadership once the future Hall of Famer retires.
Bryant is set to return for what will likely be his final season, and the Lakers have been working to assemble a stable of young talent around him. While general manager Mitch Kupchak has said he doesn’t want to leverage the team’s future to make one last title run with Kobe, the team has an outside chance to become a contender this year if they should come together in time.
But with the youth movement in full effect, the Lakers are rumored to be looking to Team USA for more veteran help. The team gave a workout to veteran Bobby Brown, who in addition to this time on the U.S. National Team has also spent some time in the NBA, Euroleague, and China.
Fansided noted that he would likely not get a lot of playing time above D’Angelo Russell and Jordan Clarkson, but could still serve an important role.
“As a fringe NBA player, Brown would definitely take a back seat to Russell and Clarkson. However, he has a wealth of experience the young duo could tap into as they take on more responsibility in the offense.
There are only a few solid, veteran point guards potentially on the market, and one who has successfully chased his basketball dream around the world seems like a good place to start.”
Whatever route the Los Angeles Lakers take, it will be a monumental shift from the last two decades, when Kobe led the team. But Kupchak appears to have the team well-positioned for the transition, as long as the veteran leadership aside from Kobe can pick up some of his important role in leading the young crew.
And, of course, there is still a chance the ultra-competitive Bryant could simply decide to keep going.
SB Nation noted as follows.
“All this talk of retirement could just as easily be for naught, too. Kobe could go through the season, stay relatively healthy, and feel up to the challenge of stretching his career. It’s not something he’s clearly ruled out yet, and if the Lakers’ youth proves to be competitive, maybe a restructured future with Bryant could be beneficial to both sides. The Lakers will be one step closer to an NBA landscape that will unlock their spending power, leaving them in position to add two maximum-level players next summer. If the Lakers’ pitches make it over the plate this summer, the aroma of playoff hopes baking in the oven might just be enough to keep Kobe around a little longer.”
If the Los Angeles Lakers somehow end up in playoff contention, the Kobe Bryant retirement rumors may be kicking into high gear.
[Image via David Sherman / Getty Images]