Kobe Bryant Finally Meets with Kupchak
It hasn’t previously been acknowledged, but (Kobe) Bryant did have his private season-ending exit meeting with Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak – a week and a half after all the other players’ meetings.
Bryant and Kupchak got together for a Sunday breakfast meeting – the very day after Kobe’s Disneyland jaunt with Vanessa – to huddle on how to get that next championship amid the economic realities facing the Lakers under the new collective bargaining agreement.
Lakers vice president Jim Buss, who was around the office that first day of player exit meetings in late May but did not sit in with Kupchak and head coach Mike Brown for any of those meetings, did not join Bryant and Kupchak either. Brown also did not attend the June 3 meeting between Bryant and Kupchak.
But one thing the Lakers do figure to have moving forward is better on-court strategy and execution with a longer training camp and more practice time to put Phil Jackson’s era behind them. After that February “lunch table” loss in Oklahoma City, Bryant criticized Brown’s staff for not getting Bryant, Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol enough easy shots the way (Kevin) Durant got them.
“They’ve got to make our jobs a little easier,” Bryant said about the Lakers’ coaches. “We have to work too hard to get points going up against defenses that are sending double teams at us. … Oklahoma does a fantastic job of it. They do a great job putting KD in the right place, and he doesn’t have to work too much.”