In what seems to be a distant memory – not only for Lakers fans, but for NBA fans in general, Kobe was in a similar situation as Carmelo not too long ago. Following the Lakers’ second straight first round defeat at the hands of the Suns, Kobe vented his frustration in 2007.
“Do something and do it now,” Bryant famously said when asked what management should do to bring the Lakers back to elite status.
Bryant’s frustrations were understandable, as he was playing some of the best basketball of his career. Yet, the pressure to win his first championship without Shaq continued to mount. Although Bryant was, and still is, the best player in the game, no player in the history of the NBA could lead a team to a championship with Kwame Brown and Smush Parker in the starting lineup. Bryant had tasted victory three times before and he was desperate to taste it again.
Much to the dismay of Kobe and Lakers fans, Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak stood pat for the most part, despite rumors of the Lakers acquiring former all star Jermaine O’Neal or even Kevin Garnett.
Bryant’s frustration then mounted; so much, that he went a step further in telling Stephen A. Smith that he would like to be traded. Kobe flip-flopped on the issue a couple of times, but never seemed sold on staying in Los Angeles that summer. Kobe also had a couple of interesting comments, such as the infamous fan made video of Kobe criticizing Andrew Bynum and Kobe making it clear that Jerry Buss made the decision to trade Shaquille O’Neal due to financial reasons, rather than to appease Kobe. Bryant made it apparent that he wanted to be in just about any uniform, except for a Lakers’ one.
Similar to the Carmelo Anthony saga going on now, rumors about where Kobe’s home would be for the 2007-2008 campaign spread like wild fire. The main rumor involved a package with the Bulls in which the Lakers would receive Ben Gordon, Luol Deng and other young players.
The rumors continued until training camp and Bryant was still mum on whether he wanted to be a Laker or not. When the regular season came around Bryant was even booed by the Staples Center crowed, although MVP chants soon followed after another 40-point performance by Bryant.