For decades, the Los Angeles Lakers have been the ultimate model of consistency in the NBA. On their way to winning 16 NBA championships, the franchise has missed the playoffs only six times and has always found a way to get themselves another star player against all odds.
In 2011, the NBA owners locked out the players for 161 days. In an interview with Chuck Klosterman for GQ Magazine, Bryant revealed that he believes the lockout was made to restrict the Lakers:
Look at the  lockout. That lockout was made to restrict the Lakers. It was. I don’t care what any other owner says. It was designed to restrict the Lakers and our marketability.
Bryant would furthermore speak to the moves the Lakers made after the lockout as the reason he has confidence in the front office to this day:
Everything that was done with that lockout was to restrict the Lakers’ ability to get players and to create a sense of parity […] But a funny thing happened, coming out of that lockout: Even with those restrictions, the Lakers pulled off a trade [for Chris Paul] that immediately set us up for a championship, a run of championships later, and which saved money […] The trade got vetoed, because they’d just staged the whole lockout to restrict the Lakers. Mitch got penalized for being smart. But if we could do that…
The Lakers could surely use one of those savvy Mitch Kupchak moves in the near future. Set to miss the playoffs for the second consecutive season, the Lakers are in uncharted waters for their franchise.
With the trade deadline fast approaching, the Lakers could look to make a move to set themselves up for the future. Armed with possibly two first-round draft picks and the money to offer at least one maximum salary, that future could become the present very quickly if the Lakers make the right moves as Bryant undoubtedly believes they will before his career comes to a close.[divide]
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