The Los Angeles Lakers have taken a lot of heat from NBA analysts over the last few years. The 16-time NBA champions have struggled to reclaim their form as a top-tier franchise in the league and, as a result, have missed the playoffs two straight seasons.
One NBA analyst arguably the most critical of the Lakers and the current state of the franchise is TNT’s Charles Barkley.
The Hall of Famer never pulls any punches when talking about the Lakers and had a few more harsh words for the team recently, according to Des Bieler of The Washington Post.
They’re the fourth-best team in California.
“They’re lucky the Sparks ain’t playing [because] they’d be the fifth.”
Along with saying the Los Angeles Sparks would be better than the Lakers, Barkley talked about Kobe Bryant and how he hopes it’s his last year in the league, via Los Angeles Times.
“I hope it’s his last year,” Barkley said. “There’s a reason he keeps getting hurt. His body can’t take the NBA pounding anymore. I just want to remember the great Kobe Bryant. I don’t want him to come out there and play 20, 25 minutes a night and just have, like, a farewell tour.”
All signs point to this season being the last for Bryant. Kobe was already dealing with a leg injury heading into his 20th NBA campaign and will be playing limited minutes to help him get through another 82-game grind.
Although Bryant may be able to defy the odds for another season, the five-time NBA champion likely won’t be announcing his retirement or intentions to retire anytime soon. Kobe is keeping his plans close to the chest and pending a severe injury, which probably won’t change.