Saturday , Jul , 21 , 2007 Oly Sandor

Kobe Bryant’s Posturing Keeps Pressure On Los Angeles Lakers To Improve

Once again, Bryant has refused to clarify his future with the Lakers … Some don’t like his tactics, but by playing coy the superstar is forcing the team to upgrade his supporting cast … Can we fault Bryant for trying to better his situation? … Click here for news and analysis …

Chris Sheridan updates Kobe Bryant’s status with Los Angeles Lakers: 

Despite being given numerous chances to clarify his position on his future with the Los Angeles Lakers, Kobe Bryant on Friday declined to bring any clarity to his situation.

"I understand the interest in the situation, and when the time is right, I’ll be more than happy to answer those questions," Bryant said after practicing with Team on day one of the national team’s three-day minicamp. "Right now we have a lot to accomplish, and I don’t want to detract from that or be a distraction from that."

Asked when exactly the time will be right, Bryant said he did not know.

"It’s about going forward and handling the situation the right way, and handling it behind closed doors within the walls of the organization, and doing it that way," said Bryant, who has failed to clarify his position for seven weeks now since going on 1050 ESPN Radio in New York saying he wanted to be traded, then altering his position in subsequent interviews later that same day.”

When asked if the signing of Derek Fisher, the drafting of Javaris Crittenton and the re-signings of Chris Mihm and Luke Walton were enough to placate his desire for an upgrade to the Lakers’ roster, Bryant’s initial answer did not make a lot of sense.

"I think they’re a helluva basketball, um, a great addition, I have to say, to the team. I think it was important to keep Luke, and Fisher I talk to all the time, and I’m extremely happy for his family, and I’m happy for Chris as well. I reached out to him."

My Quick Take: There’s absolutely no point in Kobe Bryant revealing his intentions to the Lakers’ front office.

Right now, Bryant, because of his opt-out clause, has leverage over the Lakers. In two years, the superstar could exercise a provision in his contract and become an unrestricted free agent. The purple-and-gold would get nothing in return if Bryant signs with another team. The Lakers would never recover from his departure.

The team is aware of the leverage Bryant’s contractual status provides. So the Lakers, once one of the NBA’s proudest franchises, have been reduced to the role of servant, catering to the whims and wishes of their superstar.

Is this right? Probably not, but Bryant’s cries for better teammates have injected some urgency into a stagnant and stale organization. They’ve been forced to step-up their off-season game, chasing Kevin Garnett, Jermaine O’Neal, and Richard Jefferson.

By refusing to publicly commit to the Lakers, Bryant is keeping the pressure on the Lakers to better his supporting cast. Without his posturing, the team would likely hit the snooze button and trot-out the same broken formula as the last few seasons. So you may not like or appreciate his methods, but there is something to Kobe’s madness.

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