Before heading into battle with Team USA in an effort to win a second consecutive gold medal, Kobe Bryant had suffered another early exit in the NBA playoffs and was frustrated to say the least with the way the Los Angeles Lakers were crushed by the eventual Western Conference champion Oklahoma City Thunder.
Plenty of rumors began circulating around the league about the Lakers potentially pulling off a blockbuster trade for Dwight Howard in order to compete with the Thunder in the West. Despite the rumors of the Lakers possibly making this huge move in the near future, nothing had been done before Kobe headed to London, England with his Team USA teammates.
Reportedly, even though the eventual blockbuster deal was still a month from coming to fruition, Kobe was talking all sorts of trash to his teammates in London about the reloaded Lakers.
Kevin Durant talked to Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports about Kobe’s trashing talking and bold prediction of Howard heading to Los Angeles to play alongside the five-time NBA champion and Steve Nash:
“Kobe called that a month before it happened,” Durant told Yahoo! Sports while promoting his new movie “Thunderstruck.”
“I didn’t believe him. He was just like, ‘We are going to have Dwight. We are going to have Steve Nash.’ He just talks a lot of trash, jokes and laughs. But he said it. I don’t think anyone paid attention to it but me and him. He said it and it happened. And they got better, a lot better.”
It would be safe to say that Kobe had put a bug in the ear of the Lakers’ front office before beginning his training with Team USA. There’s a very good chance that Kobe had let it be known that some changes needed to be made before next season.
In classic Lakers fashion, GM Mitch Kupchak and company were able to do just that with a historic off-season. The team improved across the board with two superstars and two role players to come off the bench in Antawn Jamison and Jodie Meeks.
The revamped roster of the Lakers will be serious force to be reckoned with moving forward and the rest of the league has taken notice with many big-name players like Durant acknowledging the shift in power in Los Angeles.
In case you missed it – our fan’s tributes to Kobe Bryant!