Kobe Bryant doesn't have many years left to win more titles with the Los Angeles Lakers. Every move the organization makes becomes more critical to Kobe's future chances to win another championship.
So you can imagine how thrilled he was at the decision by the Lakers to trade Lamar Odom for a trade exception. Dave McMenamin of ESPN Los Angeles filed this report.
"I don't like it," said Bryant. "To be honest with you, I don't like it."
The Lakers had nothing official to announce, according to team spokesman John Black, but Odom was not present at the practice facility while his teammates spoke to reporters and posed for photos in their gold home jerseys.
While the trade might not have been official yet, Bryant spoke about it as if it was already decided.
"You're talking about the Sixth Man of the Year last year," Bryant said. "He played lights out. I don't understand the criticism of reality shows and this, that and the other. I don't get it. I don't understand that. He had his best season last season, clearly wasn't a distraction and he played his ass off. I don't get where that comes from."
As Bryant continued to answer questions about Odom joining the team that swept the Lakers out of the second round of the playoffs last spring, his anger grew.
"Now I'm getting pissed off," he said.
Bryant might not be considered the greatest teammate, but he's generally loyal to the players who help him win championships. Odom was an integral part of both of the last two title teams and is coming off the best season of his career as Sixth Man of the Year. To see Odom given up for pretty much nothing has to be hard for the Lakers to swallow.
The Lakers better be prepared to make additional moves if they want to smooth the feathers of their team leader. Bryant wants big players on his team, and it's unclear that Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum on their own will be enough to get LA back to another championship.
To discuss Kobe and the Lakers, head to Silver Screen and Roll.