With free agency heating up, majority of the rumors of players moving to new places has died down and most players from Draymond Green to Kevin Love have taken new deals with their teams and while there is some movement with players moving to new teams, most of these players are role players for teams who need depth. One name that is the #1 target for a few squads is unrestricted free agent Lamarcus Aldridge, going into his 9th season for the 2015-16 season he still has plenty left in the tank and he is the #1 free agent on the market.
The teams involved in the Aldridge sweepstakes has been the usual suspects, the San Antonio Spurs, Miami Heat, New York Knicks and the Los Angeles Lakers. While some had Aldridge headed to the Spurs the Lakers have become the front runner for his service. Over the last few days after visiting L.A. it was reported by multiple media sources that contract talks had broken down and Aldridge was on his way to another team to talk about a contract. One name that was mentioned as to why talks broke down was Kobe Bryant. Rumors have spread like wildfire that Kobe and Aldridge had some sort of conversation and it did not go over too well with Aldridge. What really happened we do not know but the venom and complaints came at Bryant immediately. From twitter to ESPN everyone had an opinion to what Kobe should do as a player, many think that Kobe is to blame for screwing up the deal. Nobody is blaming ownership or general manager Mitch Kupchak who has not as of late had a good record as far as bringing in talent. The Lakers have taken a rather odd approach in building the future. With future front court stars coming into the league the Lakers, who were drafting second in the lottery chose Ohio State guard Deangelo Russell instead of Duke All American Jahlil Okafor. While they could have drafted a front court presence they chose to gamble in free agency for their front court needs. In doing that they have taken on the task of wining and dining players and it seems the players are not enjoying the date. Is it Kobe’s fault? What we do know is Kobe Bean Bryant is going into his 19th season and coming off of rotator cuff surgery, that being said Kobe is still good enough to score and make plays. Before his injury he was averaging 22 ppg, 5 rebs and 5 assts. If those averages mean Kobe cannot play anymore I’m sure 90% of the teams in the NBA would take those numbers and his leadership in a heartbeat.
It seems that there is a concentrated effort to get Kobe out of the league, I mean let’s face it, he’s the last of a dying breed, the Jordan era. Players today do not have the drive or will to do half of the things Kobe can still do 19 years in, the league is looking for new fresh faces to promote and marketing a new Lakers star would be great for the league, but Kobe is stubborn, he won’t let the young kids take him out to pasture he still has one last ride left. After former commissioner David Stern nixed the Chris Paul trade the writing was on the wall. The league was telling Kobe his turn was up and it was time for someone else to shoot the ball, but like all great shooters, when the shots are not falling, you keep shooting and Kobe is still getting into rhythm. If Aldridge does sign with the Lakers that will set a new standard for the Lakers free agency woes that they’ve faced the last few years. The “nobody wants to play with Kobe” rumors would die immediately and we might see the Mamba go for another title run. Let’s face it! The NBA Is better when the Lakers are good! Just like major league baseball is better when the Yankees are winning and NFL football is better when the Dallas Cowboys are competitive, someone has to be hated.