29 May 2007

As If Things Couldn't Get Any Worse In Laker Land

It seems to be a semi-annual tradition here, but once again the Lakers are in crisis-control mode.

Among all the hoopla surrounding Kobe Bryant, long time team owner Jerry Buss was arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol. Buss was busted for driving his gold Mercedes-Benz station wagon the wrong way on a street in a section of Carlsbad, California. Just to be sure, that street had double yellow lines.

Long a ladies man, the 74-year-old Buss was driving with a female companion, aged 23, who was not arrested. Due to his driving a station wagon one might assume he was driving a daughter/granddaughter. But based on his rep you never know...although you can say that Dr. Buss may want to step up his game in terms of cars. Station wagon, really?

Buss was described as "relatively cooperative," which might put Mel Gibson at the level of "deathly uncooperative." But anyhow, going along with the long-standing LA tradition of the public apology, Buss issued the mandatory semi-public apology-through-a-statement"

"Although I was driving only a short distance, it was a bad decision and I was wrong to do it," Buss said in a statement issued by the Lakers. "It was a mistake I will not make again."

And while Buss has yet to take the next step of going to "rehab" for his problems, he may want to go there just to get away from the Kobe mess.

Kobe decided it would be prudent to lash out against the team, through his own personal website, and then on the radio. Here are some of the highlights from Kobe's interview with KSPN-AM's John Ireland and Steve Mason.

  • Kobe is beyond furious - he never had anything to do with the Shaq trade.
  • He's never discussed Phil Jackson's "The Last Season" with him.
  • The team has always called Kobe to discuss potential roster moves with him, but each time never went through with it.
    • Yet he was never told about the Carol Butler trade, which upset him.
  • The team promised him they would make aggressive moves to win right now. He never knew anything about a 5-year plan.

More than anything else, Kobe is all about the circle of trust. And with the Lakers, that trust has been broken. After the inside source tried to blame him for jettisoning Shaq, Kobe said "I don't know who to trust," stating that the trust has been damaged. He feels that he took the bullett last time when Shaq was traded, and he won't do it again.

Although it may not appear this way to the careful observer, Kobe stated that he tries to stay in his own lane - He doesn't try to play GM. But wouldn't that mean he'd stay out of these things and just play? Well, arm-chair GM or not, Kobe made it clear to all - if he wanted a trade, he'd just come out and ask for one.

Explicit or not, it sounds like he wants one.

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