In a tweet that’s created quite a lot of attention, Tracy McGrady mentioned he feels sorry for Kobe Bryant and the team he has around him playing for the Los Angeles Lakers. If there’s one franchise and one player that don’t need pity from anyone, it’s probably the Lakers – Bryant combination.
The Lakers made the wrong moves, it’s as simple as that. They’ve put all their chips on Kobe Bryant and his huge contract; on Pau Gasol and his bad knees; on Steve Nash, who doesn’t look like someone who can play more than 50 games in a season; and on Dwight Howard, who spent one season with the sinking ship before deciding to leave and not re-sign with a franchise so arrogant they thought that treating him badly during and after the season would actually make him want to stay.
Bryant has been on playoff teams his entire career. Only once, in 2004-2005, as the Lakers were trying to find out how to rebuild from the ashes left by Shquille O’Neal leaving the team, have they missed the postseason with Kobe Bryant on the team. He’s been to seven NBA finals and has won five championship rings, adding two Finals MVP along the way. It’s hard to consider Bryant in need of any pity for achievements or milestones he has missed out on.
Sitting here watching the Lakers, and I feel sorry for my boy Jellybean when he comes back!
— Tracy McGrady (@Real_T_Mac) October 23, 2013
For the Lakers, there is no tomorrow and future, there is only now. That’s why no one has considered trading Pau Gasol over the last two years for some cap relief, or no one has tried to amnesty Kobe Bryant, which would have been quite helpful considering that with or without him, this team is going nowhere this season.
Instead, the Lakers released Metta World Peace, offering them no real cap relief except saving on some luxury tax dollars, and signed a makeshift crew including Nick Young, Wesley Johnson and Chris Kaman. It seems like there’s some sort of attempt to make the playoffs this year, but that depends on Bryant being himself, yet not completely himself in a way that has disrupted the teamwork over the last couple of years, while hoping that Pau Gasol and Steve Nash playing like it’s 2010.
Tracy McGrady has been unlucky in his career to a certain degree, and certainly not as fortunate as Kobe Bryant when it comes to the level of teams he’s played for and the teammates he’s had around him. While he might understand Bryant suddenly finding himself in a position where he can no longer challenge for titles because of being too old to do the job on his own and not having the right team around him, a big part of the reason the Lakers are in this mess in the first place has to do with their blind allegiance with Kobe, that has eroded and eaten up every inch of this team, now heading slowly into the sunset without a real shot of succeeding until his contract runs out, giving them a hope of starting over from scratch.