The Lakers were able to rebound and still put together a solid roster, and they will now see how they stack up against the Clippers as they face them on Opening Night.
“I’m sure Kawhi wants to take the challenge of winning independent of playing with LeBron,” Bryant said. “Maybe that was the same for P.G. I think they relish the challenge of taking on something new. I don’t think it was a slight at the Lakers. It was more about circumstances and what was already here in L.A. and on the Lakers, and they wanted to take the challenge of building something new.
Bryant then went on to add that Lakers fans should still feel confident about their team, even without Leonard:
“But the Lakers did OK. I saw a lot of Lakers fans were very disappointed, and rightfully so, that they didn’t get Kawhi. But you did get Anthony Davis. The Lakers have two freaks of nature. They’re going to be fine. It’s a hell of a time to be in L.A.”
They did pass on a lot of other quality free agents to maintain cap space for Leonard, so it will be interesting to see if that ends up costing them a chance at winning their 17th championship in June.
George and Kuzma will both be missing the first matchup, but both should be able to return before the two Los Angeles teams meet for a second time on Christmas Day.
Regardless of who wins the first game, there will rightfully still be a lot of unanswered questions until that second meeting.