The Los Angeles Lakers are now a few months removed from star forward LeBron James choosing to ink a four-year, $153 million to join the franchise in free agency. It was a move that could change the face of the franchise over the next several years with James leading the charge.
However, it was a situation helped made possible with the aid of Kobe Bryant lending some keen advice beforehand with the change up top in the management. According to Sam Amick of The Athletic, Bryant had some direct and concise advice on what Lakers’ controlling owner Jeanie Buss should do with that decision.
“He said, ‘If you’re going to do this, then go all the way,’” recalled Jeanie, seated on the couch inside her office at the team’s training facility in El Segundo. “He’s Mamba, so he said, ‘If you’re going to play (around), then they’ll come back and kill you if you don’t go all the way…Be decisive, and be quick, and go all in or don’t do it at all, because you’ll sabotage yourself before you even get to start.’ It was good advice. He’s really smart.”
Buss took that message to heart as she made the difficult choice of letting go of her brother, Jim Buss, from the position of president of basketball operations along with firing longtime general manager Mitch Kupchak. This set the course for the franchise to bring aboard an entirely new regimen with Magic Johnson taking Buss’ position while Bryant’s former agent Rob Pelinka assuming the latter available spot.
Since then, there has been an entire remolding of the franchise that began with making several roster moves to get out from contract such as Timofey Mozgov’s massive deal. This was then followed by a promising draft class with the selections of Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, and Josh Hart, who have each become core pieces to the puzzle.
All of this had put the Lakers in a position of looking like an intriguing landing spot for James. Although Bryant is no longer playing, he has made a strong impact on the franchise while his words of advice were a factor in landing the four-time league MVP to lead the team in this next era.