NBA exec believes Doc Rivers may pursue Kobe Bryant in 2016


This upcoming season could be a special one: 2015-16 could be the last time Lakers legend Kobe Bryant takes to an NBA floor.

Rumors have bounced across the internet up and down so no one truly knows if ’15-16 will be used to celebrate Bryant’s illustrious career in the way the MLB and its fanbase was able to do with Derek Jeter just a year ago. Not even former Laker coach Phil Jackson is aware of Bryant’s future plans, but this stopped endless speculation, mainly because there are few athletes who grab the attention of fans quicker and harder than Kobe.

In the rare scenario Bryant returns, many are — anonymously of course — already giving their thoughts on what the Lakers should do, as Bryant, far past his prime, is an unrestricted free agent. Per Baxter Holmes of ESPN, many of the questioned NBA “insiders” believe the Lakers should move on, which comes off as preposterous to many as he’s been the face of the franchise since Shaquille O’Neal forced a trade mid-2000s.

One agent said the Lakers should let Kobe walk if he decides to return past ’15-16.

Another executive used ‘any means necessary’ to exaggerate how badly the Lakers should separate themselves from the fading star.

But, here, is probably the funniest comment of them all: one executive believes if Bryant and the Lakers do part ways as he hopes to continue past Year 20 of his career, Doc Rivers, Los Angeles Clippers head coach and team president, could be one to attempt to reel the star in.

"If Bryant were to leave, would another team want him?Insiders say his options are slim.One executive mentioned the Knicks. Another brought up Clippers coach Doc Rivers and his willingness to show up his fellow Staples Center residents. Some team might, as one exec put it, “do it to sell a couple more suites.”"

Ignoring how rampant and outrageous reactions would be if Kobe Bryant took his talents from the most successful tenor of Staples Center to the least successful, given Rivers’ love for veterans, it wouldn’t surprise if the team president-slash-head coach made his move on Bryant. The reasoning? Rivers really loves veterans. It showed during his time as head coach of the Boston Celtics, or at least during the latter years when the team was equipped to compete for a NBA championship — Sam Cassell, Keyon Dooling, P.J. Brown, Chris Wilcox, etc; in Los Angeles, Hedo Turkoglu, Antawn Jamison, etc. Going further into Rivers’ love for veterans, he loves those who’ve performed well against his former clubs, and who better fits that criteria than the fellow who led the Los Angeles Lakers over Rivers’ Celtics in the 2010 NBA Finals.

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  • Fit wise, Bryant doesn’t have one on this Clippers team, and of any and every portion of discussion surrounding a potential partnership between the two parties none matters more than fit. If he remains healthy — a big if — what you have in Bryant is an offensive player with all of the creativity and none of the efficiency and speed that made him an elite player just three years ago, pre-Achilles rupture. And defensively, Bryant’s a sieve, and it’ll only get worse as he grows older — as will the offense. You could argue the Clippers, in a year’s time, will still need players who can create as Jamal Crawford, Josh Smith, Austin Rivers, and Lance Stephenson may all become unrestricted free agents, but ideally that’s the role Paul Pierce is supposed to hold, even in age. And if Pierce shows too noticeable a decline from now until the summer, the Clippers will have in their possession a reasonable amount of cap space to find scorers to fill out the bench (or starting small forward spot). In other wise, finding a spot for Bryant would make things a bit awkward, and I haven’t even’t mentioned ego coming into play.

    Luckily for the Clippers, if Bryant does wind up a scenario where he chooses to continue his career and the Lakers choose to go on without the star, focusing on their ongoing rebuilding around the likes of Deangelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson, and Julius Randle, he’d be far outside of whatever price range is available to Doc Rivers in 2016, aka a blessing in disguise as it stops Doc from possibly doing the inevitable.

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    And luckily for the Clippers, Donald Sterling is a long ways from the franchise. It’d be a very DST thing to move mountains in hopes of finding the space needed to sign 38-year-old Kobe, in order to increase the amount of revenue generated by the superstars presence. Because wherever Bryant plays, fans will go above and beyond for apparel dawning his name, whether it be jersey, t-shirt, or whatever is noted as most fashionable these days. And ticket sales will increase, because people will want to see Bryant outside of his usual purple-and-gold attire. It’s the argument that supports the Lakers investing nearly $50 million in Bryant post-Achilles injury as the one-time MVP and five-time NBA champion is more than enough a draw financially to ignore the obvious inability for Bryant’s production to match his pay.

    My prediction — or hope: Bryant hangs it up after this season. There’s nothing good about seeing the best of the best reach the point of their career where they’re a constant shell of their former selves. Truth be told, Bryant has reached that point already, after shooting 37% from the field last season before enduring a shoulder injury that abruptly ended his season 30-something games in, but there are many who hope the shooting guard can make it through the season without succumbing to injury.

    Let us know in the poll below what you think about the possibility of Doc Rivers recruiting Kobe Bryant to be a Clipper next summer.

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