Back in November, Kobe Bryant surprised everyone by making the official announcement that this season would be his last in the NBA. The Los Angeles Lakers superstar had been reluctant to make a decision on his future beyond this season, but chose to make his decision public.
Once Bryant’s retirement plans were made public, the focus of the season was Kobe’s farewell tour with developing players seemingly secondary.
In a recent interview on SiriusXM NBA Radio, Lakers legend Jamaal Wilkes talked about Bryant’s farewell tour. Wilkes believes the five-time NBA champion deserves to be honored, but also believes it has become a distraction:
"Iconic career. I think he deserves it all but believes it has been a distraction to the team" Wilkes on Kobe's farwell tour
— SiriusXM NBA Radio (@SiriusXMNBA) March 25, 2016
Although Bryant’s farewell tour may have been a distraction for the team over the last few months, only a few more weeks remain in the 2015-16 NBA season for Los Angeles. The Lakers will face the visiting Washington Wizards on Sunday.
Heading into the matchup against the Wizards, the Lakers will have only 10 games left. Once the season is over, the team’s front office can focus on the upcoming NBA Draft Lottery on May 17. Los Angeles will likely finish among the bottom three teams in the NBA this season giving them a good chance of keeping their top-three protected pick.
The 2016 NBA Draft will take place the following month on June 23 with the team more than likely hoping to land one of the two top prospects in LSU’s Ben Simmons or Duke’s Brandon Ingram. NBA free agency will get underway about a week later on July 1 with the Lakers expected to pursue superstar Kevin Durant and other notable free agents like Hassan Whiteside and Al Horford.