Here is a report from Jim Hill on Sports Central Sunday Night on the Los Angeles CBS affiliate which broadcast Sunday, May 27th:
“Hello again my friends, I’m Jim Hill welcome to yet another edition of Sports Central Sunday Night.
We begin in pro basketball with Kobe Bryant and the Lakers. There are reports circulating that Kobe has demanded a trade if Jerry West does not return to the front office.
Earlier this evening I talked on the phone with Kobe and he told me more than anything he wants to finish his basketball career with the Lakers. He does not, he says he does not want to be traded, but Kobe did say he wants Jerry West to return because he trusts him completely, and they both have something in common… they both want to win and want to win right now. He also says just having Jerry West back in the organization will help everyone immensely.
Now West is still under contract with the Memphis Grizzlies until July the 1st and cannot talk to the Lakers until that time. But he was quoted today as saying “I haven’t thought about returning much until Kobe brought it up today. I am intensely loyal to the Memphis Grizzlies and as I am to Mitch Kupchak. Having said that, I am a life long Laker, we’ll just see what happens.”
A lot of people saying if you can bring back Phil Jackson, you can bring back Jerry West, right?”
Translation: Kobe did make that leveraged demand, and Jerry is ready to return.
More drama has unfolded since I last reported on the Purple and Gold.
I told you how the political camps laid out:
1) Dr. Jerry Buss somewhere hovering over the mess in between poker and young girls. Jimmy Buss, Jerry’s son and heir apparent is also in this group since the transition of power is attempting going down.
2) Phil and his girlfriend Jeannie Buss who is also Jerry’s daugther and Jim’s sister. She is a VP of marketing with the club. Phil of course is the coach with rings for nine of his fingers.
3) Kobe, the club’s aging superstar that has given rebuilding a two year shot and seems intent in forcing the club to make something happen sooner rather than soon.
4) Mitch Kupchak who gets labelled as being a high classed paid lap dog/gofer. He is already the odd man out and you have my Frapuarantee that Kupchak’s head rolls this summer. Even if it is to another “important” position which allows Kupchak to save face ala Rudy Tomjanovich.
Around May 10th, Steven A. Smith broke the story awhile back that Kobe was bent at Lakers’ management in part for not landing Baron Davis or Ron Artest when they were available, Carlos Boozer when he was crossed up with Jazz ownership, and for not being consulted when one of his best friends on the team, Caron Butler, was traded away for Kwame Brown in a deal with the Washington Wizards. Steven A’s famous prediction of “do not be surprised at all if this stuff continues if Kobe Bryant sometime around next year is asking to be traded” lends cred to his story.
On May 17th Jeannie Buss hacked on her brother Jim while guest hosting a local sports radio show in response to Jim criticizing Phil (remember that they’re in the same camp) when he said earlier on the same radio station “When we look back, maybe the coaches didn’t do such a good job of handling a young team”.
But it wasn’t over. On May 22nd Laker assistant coach Kurt Rambis weighed in, again on the same radio station (lakers’ flagship station KLAC AM) and popped Jim Buss in the jaw by stating in part that “Jim Buss liked to puff up his chest and act like he was in charge”. He also said that they worked everyday with the young players, but that Jim Buss had never been to practices. Rambis has interviewed for the vacant Sacramento King job.
So now we have the scenario where the very same Kobe that has and does get tagged with “selfish” and “immature” seems to be the one making the most sense. Let’s get the ship righted and win championships. No wonder he wants to reach back to the last time there was any semblance of stability and reinstate West. And you know the next time West rides off into the sunset, he wants to do it on a purple and gold steed. Ok, that last line was weak, but you get my drift.
Drama is not reserved only for the studios in the greater Los Angeles basin. There are (power) plays and other productions all the time in SoCal.