Here’s a link to Kobe’s interview with Petros Papadakis and Matt Money Smith this afternoon in which he calls the Lakers’ front office situation “a mess” and says he’s got “serious trust issues” that may or may not be reparable with the club now that a “Lakers insider” has come out in the LA Times saying that Kobe was the driving force behind the Shaq trade, when Kobe contends that Dr. Buss told him during the 2004 season that the club had already decided to trade Shaq because of his contract demands.
Kobe was so livid after reading that, he sent a text message to coach Phil Jackson Tuesday morning, asking him to call him immediately and tell him exactly what the club said when he left the team in 2004. Jackson told Kobe that the club had said it was letting him go because it had a long-term cost-cutting plan to get under the salary cap and didn’t need such a high-priced coach for that. Kobe got even madder after hearing that because the club had never said anything of the sort to him about cost-cutting, in fact, just the opposite was conveyed to him by owner Jerry Buss, when he was deciding whether to re-up witht he Lakers or go to the Clippers or Bulls. Kobe says that Buss promised the team would do whatever it took to get back to a championship level ASAP. So, when potential free agents or tradeable players would call him, asking whether they should come to LA, Kobe would call Mitch Kupchak all excited, like “OK Mitch, let’s get this done.” Little did he know, Kobe says, that those moves were never going to happen because they didn’t fit in with the team’s long-term cost-cutting plan.
Listen carefully to find the part where he talks about wanting to play for the Bulls or the Clippers when he was a free agent, only to be talked out of it by Jerry Buss and Jerry West.
He also talks about how disappointed at the trades his club did (Caron Butler) and did not (Baron Davis, Carlos Boozer, Ron Artest) make.
“They called me in to talk about it,” Bryant said of the Caron Bulter trade. “But when I went in there, they’d alread traded him.”