Kobe Bryant is officially done for the rest of the Lakers season. Sounds like he's had it with the Lakers front office, too.
It's about time the Lakers superstar called out the Lakers brass.
There's nothing more for Bryant to do on the court since his fractured left knee won't heal in time for him to return for any of the final 18 games, a ludicrous proposition anyway.
Instead, Bryant just threw down the biggest slam of the season.
Lakers owner Jim Buss should ditch that signature hat in case it's covering his ears.
“You've got to start with Jim and Jeanie, and how all that relationship plays out,” Bryant said. “It starts there and having a clear direction and clear authority and then goes to the coaching staff, what Mike (D'Antoni is) going to do, what they want to do with Mike and it goes from there. It's got to start from the top.”
Never mind D'Antoni. The onus is on Jim Buss, who supposedly runs the basketball side and Jeanie the business side. Their roles are about as clear as that haze over downtown Los Angeles.
The Lakers need to be fixed, and Phil Jackson isn't the answer anymore, only because he's unavailable. Reports have him joining the Knicks' front office.
So the Lakers let Jackson get away twice — hiring championship-less D'Antoni over him — for those of you keeping score of all the things Jim Buss has bungled in his tumultuous tenure.
Magic Johnson weighed in — as he always does — on Twitter with this doozy: “Kobe Bryant is the face of the Lakers' team. Who is the face of the Lakers' organization?”
It's a legitimate question. Who is the face of the organization? If it's Jim Buss, we rarely see him.
The Lakers (22-42) are second to last in the Western Conference and 25 1/2 games behind San Antonio. They're 11-20 at Staples Center. They allow 107.9 points per game, worst in the Western Conference.
The best defense is Bryant defending the respect, integrity and decency of this once-proud organization.
“We can't be satisfied that we're 100 games under .500,” Bryant said. “That's not what we stand for. That's not what we play for. A lot of times it's hard to understand that message if you're not a diehard Lakers fan. It's hard to understand where we're coming from and what we're used to. We play for championships. Everything else is a complete failure.”
This is everything else.
The Lakers aren't even a playoff team, let alone a championship contender. Even when Bryant played in those six games this season, this team was broken.
When asked if he was disconnected from the team enough because of injury to not let the losses bother him as much, Bryant took another shot, implying others in the organization don't care as much as he does: “I feel like killing everybody every time I go to the arena. I'm just on edge all the time. To answer your question, yeah, I still feel (the pain of this season), probably more than anybody in the organization does, and it drives me absolutely crazy.”
Bryant is hyper competitive about everything, mind you, but that's another stinger.
When D'Antoni took over for the fired Mike Brown, his message was about championships, even though he never coached a team to an NBA title. That mantra is a joke right now.
There must be change if the future is to look bright again.
“We have to start at the top in terms of the culture of our team and what kind of culture we want to have and what kind of system we want to have,” Bryant said. “It starts there.”
The offseason should start now for the Lakers, and change should be the mantra.
Bryant got things started by demanding change from Lakers brass. The Buss family is on the clock.