According to Mark Heisler, in an article that appears in today’s Times, Kobe Bryant’s now infamous silence on the hiring of Mike Brown has nothing to do with his new coach. In fact Heisler explains that Brown has won over Kobe in the same manner in which he won over Dan Gilbert and Jim Buss – with his charm and hoops pedigree. The real issue stems from Buss failing to contact Kobe during the hiring process.
The reports of KB24 being on good terms with Brown is news. That Bryant is none too pleased with Jim Buss is far from shocking.
During this transition period a few patterns have already begun to develop and we’re just over a month removed from the Lake Show’s unceremonious exit from the playoffs.
It has become increasingly clear that Jim Buss has drawn a line in the sand so as to distance himself from the past regime. In fact, Heisler details the two factions that emerged after the fallout from Kobe’s short-lived trade demands of a few years back.
Two tacit alliances formed — Jerry-Jim and Kobe-Phil-Jeanie Buss — even as the team made three Finals in a row and won back-to-back titles.
In some regards you can imagine Dr. Buss felt as if his franchise player was trying to run his franchise. When Kobe voiced his displeasure with the manner in which the team was being built Dr. Buss might have had a few Shaq flashbacks. Now along comes Jim Buss with some of those same feelings.
Whatever the case Jim Buss has already admitted his mistake in failing to contact Kobe prior to Brown’s hiring. That his public apology isn’t enough for Bryant can be taken a few different ways.
Those in the hater section will quickly point the finger of blame at Kobe for being either too selfish or immature to accept Buss’ apology and move one.
The other side of that coin can be viewed as this being a symptom of something much greater. Perhaps there is an unhealthy lack of respect that is simply inexcusable for Bryant. If Buss is truly remorseful for his miscalculations then the least he could do is give Kobe a call or meet him face to face. Public apologies are about the most passive aggressive way to show sincerity.
Still another theory could be that Jim Buss is truly turning the page. Some have rumored that the new era of Laker hoops is upon us. An era that – if Jim Buss gets his way – will be built on the back of Andrew Bynum and not continually built around Kobe Bryant.
Naturally this time of year all the talk is just speculative. Since there is nothing but the draft to look forward to before hoops goes on hiatus the rumor mill is about the only thing we can hang our hats on. No telling what the future truly holds for this tenuous relationship. But since this is Los Angeles the drama is inherit.