As the Los Angeles Lakers continue to wait for Carmelo Anthony to make his decision, one thing is for sure and that is Kobe Bryant “would love to play” alongside him next season, according to Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com.
“I would love to play with him,” Bryant said. “We’ve really clicked since 2008. I would love to see that.”
Bryant and Anthony have built a strong relationship over the years since the 2008 Olympic games, where the two played in major roles on the “Redeem Team” that captured the gold medal over Spain. With Anthony now a free agent, he has the opportunity to play for the Lakers, which has resulted in much scrutiny over their friendship and how it could play a major factor in the seven-time All-Star choosing to play in Los Angeles this upcoming season.
That said, Bryant on Thursday at his annual youth basketball camp in the UC Santa Barbara campus did not provide much insight on where the 30-year-old was in his decision-making process.
“Obviously it’s a hot topic of conversation in terms where everybody is going to go,” he said. “Everybody is here to read tea leaves. I don’t have much to tell you. I don’t have any information you guys don’t already know.”
The 18-year veteran also downplayed his involvement in the recruitment process as he stated he has just checked in from time to time with free agents. Bryant also stated that the team has “several options” in place if they were to miss out on the likes of Anthony and LeBron James. The team has been said to have interest in players such as Lance Stephenson, Luol Deng, and Isaiah Thomas.
The 16-time All-Star on Thursday discussed Pau Gasol‘s situation by stating that he should enjoy the free agent process and that the addition of Anthony would make the Spaniard’s decision much a simpler one to make. Bryant also touched on the possibility of Byron Scott becoming the team’s next head coach, which would be a move that he would approve of given his “tremendously close relationship” with his former teammate over the years.
With so much in influx with the organization at this current juncture,The five-time NBA champion did express his satisfaction about the Lakers’ sense of direction and confidence in the front office to get the job done this offseason. However, he was quick to point out that he did not want to go through another repeat of last season’s struggles with the team finishing with their worst regular season record in franchise history in Los Angeles.
“I’ve never had patience; I’m not going to start now,” he said. “But you do what you have to do as an organization. God forbid we end up with absolutely nothing; it’s not for a lack of effort. That’s something I would be extremely proud of. We put forth the effort and gave it our best shot. What can you do? You just go from there and do your best and try to win.”
Bryant also voiced confidence in his health as he stated his body felt “sharp” and “crisp,” and most importantly he does not have concerns about either his left knee or surgically repaired Achilles tendon that forced him to miss all but six games last season.
With Anthony still yet to make his decision, the fact that Bryant’s recovery is coming along smooth along with him welcoming the chance to play with Anthony could bode well in the team’s chances of acquiring the 30-year-old. Ultimately, it is choice that lies out of Bryant’s hands and will be up to Anthony to decide whether he wants to make that scenario come to fruition.
Photo Credit: Reuters