Los Angeles Lakers newcomer Brandon Bass agreed to sign a two-year deal with the team this summer. It will be the fifth team Bass has played for in his NBA career and the journeyman is looking forward to playing alongside future Hall of Famer Kobe Bryant next season.
Along with admitting he didn’t expect to hear from Bryant after signing with the Lakers, the veteran power forward also praised his new superstar teammate. Bass believes that Kobe is arguably still the best player in the game today, via Terrance Harris of NOLA.com:
It’s quite a challenge but I felt like we’ve got enough players right now with the signing of Lou Williams, the trade for Roy Hibbert and then myself and we have arguably the best player in the game still,” Bass said. “When he is healthy he is a monster still. If he is healthy he’s right up there with the best players in the league, that’s LeBron or whoever the best players in the league are.
“When Kobe is healthy, 19 years in the game he is still elite.”
With Kobe coming off three consecutive season-ending injuries, there’s no telling what the five-time NBA champion will be able to do on the basketball floor next season. Bryant will be entering his 20th season in October at the age of 37 with many convinced he simply can’t be the dominant player of old anymore.
As usual, Bryant will aim to prove his doubters wrong once again. Kobe will have no shortage of motivation in potentially his last season in the NBA, but only time will tell if his body can hold up for yet another 82-game season in Los Angeles.
Fortunately, Kobe will have an improved roster around him as he tries bounce back from the shoulder injury he suffered last season. The Lakers were able to bring in a few solid veterans with the additions of Roy Hibbert, Lou Williams and Bass to join a talented young core including Jordan Clarkson, Julius Randle and rookie D’Angelo Russell.
It’ll be a challenging season for Kobe and company, but it isn’t beyond the realm of possibility that this team is playoff bound after 82 games are in the books.[divide]