Sunday , Jun , 17 , 2007 C.Y. Ellis

Bryant continues to push for trade

Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) – Kobe Bryant went to the worldwide web
on Sunday to reiterate that he wants out of Los Angeles.

“When you love something as much as I love the Lakers its [sic] hard to even
imagine thinking about being elsewhere,” Bryant said on his website, kb24.com.
“But, the ONE THING I will never sacrifice when it comes to basketball is
WINNING. That is plain and simply what it’s all about. It’s in my DNA. It’s
what pushes me to work as hard as I do. It’s my daily passion and pursuit.”

Bryant’s latest salvo comes amid reports that the superstar met with Lakers
owner Jerry Buss in Barcelona, Spain on Friday and asked to be moved.

The Los Angeles Times cited unnamed sources, who said that Buss asked Bryant
to be patient and told him the organization remains focused on winning.
Bryant, in turn, continued to question the overall direction of the franchise
and reaffirmed his demand to be traded.

Bryant continued to question the team’s plans on his blog.

“The more I thought about the future, the more I became convinced that the
Lakers and me just have two different visions for the future,” Bryant wrote.
“The Lakers are pursuing a longer-term plan that is different from what Dr.
Buss shared with me at the time I re-signed as a free agent.

“I have seen that plan unfold for the last three years and watched great trade
opportunities come and go, and have seen free agents passed on. That has led
to the Lakers not winning a playoff series. All of that was frustrating in
itself, but then, this week to have someone “inside” the Laker organization
try to blame me in the media for us not being a contender right now — that is
what brought me to my current position today.”

Bryant, a nine-time All-Star, still has four years and nearly $89 million left
on a seven-year contract he signed in 2004, but has butted heads with Los
Angeles general manager Mitch Kupchak over the inability to garner more talent
for the franchise.

The Lakers have not won a playoff series since trading Shaquille O’Neal in
July of 2004 and were eliminated by the Phoenix Suns in just five games this
season. Then, on May 30, Bryant voiced his displeasure about the team’s
struggles in an interview with Stephen A. Smith on ESPN Radio, saying the
Lakers, “obviously want to move in a different direction in terms of
rebuilding.” Later in the afternoon, on the same network, Bryant backed off
that statement and said he wanted to remain a Laker for the duration of his
NBA career.

Buss’ only comments came in the form of a statement issued two weeks ago in
which he said, “We will continue to pursue every avenue possible to improve
our team with (Bryant) as the cornerstone.”

LAL