Kobe Bryant’s Time in LA Nearing an End

kobebryant2014It’s been a very difficult beginning of the season for the Los Angeles Lakers and their fans.  Before the season even began, news broke that Steve Nash would miss the entire season due to nerve damage in his neck all the way down his back. Already down a man, the Lakers opened up the season with a 108-90 loss to the Houston Rockets.  During the opener, highly-touted first round draft pick Julius Randle broke his right leg, an injury that will sideline him for the remainder of the season as well.

While the news off the court has certainly been bad, the Lakers on the court might be worse.  They started the season with five losses, including twice to the Phoenix Suns.  Scoring has not been much of an issue as they averaged more than 100 points per game in each loss, but they gave up at least 108 points in each defeat.  This past Sunday they were finally able to get their first win of the year, a 107-92 victory over the Charlotte Hornets.

Nonetheless, it appears that this will be a rebuilding year for Los Angeles. So the question now becomes is it time for the Lakers to move on from Kobe Bryant.  Talk radio, twitter, and every other social outlet seem to be buzzing about the Lakers potentially moving on from their superstar guard.  Kobe has adamantly stated he has no interest in leaving Los Angeles, stating on several occasions that he is loyal to the team and wants to finish his career in LA.  But if both parties came to the conclusion that each could benefit from a departure, would they act on it?

There are certainly plenty of teams that would gladly welcome Kobe on their roster.  The team most frequently getting bandied about these days is the New York Knicks.  A trade to the Knicks makes sense on several fronts, starting with the fact that close friend Derek Fisher is currently the head coach and former coach Phil Jackson is pulling the strings in the front office.  The Knicks certainly have the large contracts needed to make any type of trade work and placing Kobe and Carmelo Anthony together is a very intriguing prospect.

Other teams, such as the Chicago Bulls and Dallas Mavericks would be potential landing spots for the future hall of famer.  Chicago is in need of another major scoring threat and could swing a deal that could leave both teams better off in both the short and long term future.  Dallas would probably make the most sense from a roster standpoint, as the Mavericks are right on the brink of being a major contender, but it’s difficult to see Bryant heading to another Western Conference team.

And a major reason to keep Kobe is who would want to see the Lakers if he were to leave town?  The average price for Lakers tickets at the Staples Center this season is currently $228.  With Bryant off the team, will people pay that high a price to see Jeremy Lin and Carlos Boozer?

The Lakers certainly have a difficult quandary ahead of them and it’s difficult to tell how it will all play out. Though if the Lakers can find a way to win consistently, perhaps this whole discussion wil prove to be unnecessary. Either way Kobe Bryant fans know that his time in a Laker uniform is numbered. Whether Kobe leaves LA to play for another team, or to retirement, every time Bryant steps out onto the Staples Center court, it could be the last chance Lakers fans get to see the legend play.