For the first time since shoulder surgery, Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant made his first appearance on the bench as his team suffered their fifth consecutive loss against the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday.
With Kobe returning for his 20th season, it may be his last in the NBA as his contract is set to expire. As the Lakers are going to miss the playoffs for the second consecutive season, this is perhaps the most important off-season for the franchise.
Armed with a top-five protected pick and ample cap space, the Lakers are rebuilding, but patience is wearing thin. However, Kobe understands the Lakers should not compromise the future for one season according to Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News:
“It’s a balance of both,” Bryant said. “You always want to set the franchise up for the long term. Mitch and I are on the same page. What he said in the interview is not something that we haven’t talked about before. It’s nothing different. You don’t want to compromise the future of the franchise for one season. You try to balance that.”
In what may be Kobe’s final season, there are some fans who want to see the Lakers sign veterans this upcoming off-season in hopes of returning to the playoffs. However, general manager Mitch Kupchak has stated that he is looking to rebuild the right way by not jeopardizing the future for one winning season.
With 19 games remaining in the 2014-15 season, head coach Byron Scott is currently developing the young talent on the roster by giving Jordan Clarkson and Tarik Black major minutes. While this is another disappointing season, Lakers are looking to rebuild themselves back into championship contenders by taking a major step this upcoming off-season.
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