The Los Angeles Lakers are mired in their second straight losing season, only the second time the team has finished below .500 in consecutive years in the history of the team. With Kobe Bryant’s career winding down, many wonder if the legend will make a return to the playoffs before he calls it a career.
Kobe has been firmly behind the Lakers’ front office and gave a very specific level of confidence in their ability to build a contender while he is still with the team according to ESPN’s Baxter Holmes:
How confident is Kobe that LAL builds contender while he remains w/ them? "As confident as they are in me that I’ll be healthy next year."
— Baxter Holmes (@BaxterHolmes) March 11, 2015
The Lakers have been very adamant about not sacrificing the future in order to win in Kobe’s final year, and Kobe himself has backed that plan. Even still, the Lakers have numerous options available to improve the team drastically by the start of next season.
Prized rookie Julius Randle will make his return along with Kobe next year, and the team will have numerous draft picks that could be used to draft more young talent or be packaged to bring in other guys. The Lakers will also have more than enough salary cap space to offer a max contract to one of many free agents this summer.
Whether or not next year will be Kobe’s last remains to be seen as even Kobe has admitted that he could see himself playing past next year. The Lakers will have the tools to put a much better roster around him, and only time will tell if they are able to make good on the confidence Kobe has in the front office.[divide]
VIDEO: Kobe Bryant, “Who The Hell Said I Was Retiring?”