The first topic was on what level Kobe was. And my answer was pretty much my stock answer at this point. Kobe is a player that has been very close to the best in the league. His durability has also been impressive. From 1999-2011, Kobe had 13 consecutive seasons where he was an above average player and also got 2500+ minutes each season. However, given his age and recent injuries, I can’t really rank him that highly anymore. Of course, this kind of misconception from fans is nothing new. All great athletes eventually get old and fade, and even as this is happening their fans still believe them to be stars.
The next topic was on Dwight’s concern about Kobe’s exit strategy. It’s entirely possible that Kobe drove Dwight out of Los Angeles. The reason is quite simple: Kobe commands a great deal of both authority and cap space on the Lakers. Next season, over 50% of the Lakers pre-luxury cap space will be going to Kobe, and Kobe has stood firm that he doesn’t want to take a paycut. If Dwight’s goal is to be on a contender, then an old, beaten-up player eating up cap space is not ideal.
It’s worth noting that you can’t really fault Dwight or Kobe here. Both know that an athlete’s career is short. Both are trying to get both accolades and top dollar before retiring. But when asking why the Lakers didn’t work out this season, these reasons pretty much sum it up.