The impending retirement of Los Angeles Lakers star player Kobe Bryant has been the topic of a lot of conversations within and outside the NBA community. With Kobe Bryant still battling health issues stemming from physical injuries combined with his age, a number of fans and followers of the Los Angeles Lakers are calling for the NBA star to simply hang the jersey and retire. One man, however, remains a loyal supporter of Kobe Bryant and his contributions to the Los Angeles Lakers: NBA team owner Jim Buss.
"We're going to approach it like it is, but that doesn't mean it is," said Buss in an interview with Los Angeles Times, referring to the plans of the Los Angeles Lakers with regard the rumored retirement of Kobe Bryant. Buss went on to say, "I'm not going to sit there and say, 'This is it, Kobe, you're done,' because it's not my decision, it's his decision." To prove his faith in the skills and talent of Kobe Bryant, the Los Angeles Lakers owner still opted to pay $25 million for this season to retain the NBA star. With this amount deposited in Kobe Bryant's account, the Los Angeles Lakers star will be hailed as the highest paid athlete in the NBA for this season.
While the future of Kobe Bryant in the Los Angeles Lakers remains unknown, fans and followers of the NBA star can looks forward to the rookies recently signed by the team. Stunning the crowd during the NBA draft pick earlier this year, the Los Angeles Lakers forego the chance to sign another big man in the team and opted to go for D'Angelo Russell.
Fresh off Ohio State, the Los Angeles Lakers second round draft pick is reportedly one of the most promising NBA stars signed this season. "We've got high aspirations for him [D'Angelo Russell]," shared Buss. The Los Angeles Lakers exec further stated, "We normally look to get bigs, but [D'Angelo Russell] was just that impressive, that we just didn't feel right passing up on him."
Apart from D'Angelo Russell, the Los Angeles Lakers are also eager to showcase the talent of former Indiana Pacers star Roy Hibbert. Admitting that the possibility of losing Kobe Bryant and only having rookie stars to start the NBA games will be quite a challenge for the Los Angeles Lakers, Buss said that the NBA team have allowed for a certain period to "build a core" group that can once again put them in the list of contenders.