If Mitch Kupchak truly has no regrets about signing Kobe to the $48.5-million contract, then he needs to be removed from his position as general manager. Essentially, he mortgaged two years of the Lakers' future in order to reward an employee for past performance. This is a textbook example of a poor business decision. Lakers' fans were deprived of a competitive team for two years so Kupchak and the Busses could make Kobe even more obscenely wealthy than he already is.
Sure would like Mitch "Kobe is worth every penny of the $48.5 million" Kupchak to accompany me as I hit the car dealerships seeking top dollar trade in for my banged-up jalopy with 127,602 miles on the odometer.
Bill Plaschke posits the idea that if No. 24 returns next season and if Julius Randle recovers and if the Lakers can sign a top free agent or two they'll be competitive (playoff contenders?)
But No. 24's presence on the roster next season is the precise reason why top free agents don't/won't sign on the dotted line. His inability to understand basketball is a five-man game and not simply a one-player showcase — no matter how great that player once was — means the Lakers are doomed to mediocrity as long as Kobe is still around.
Take your money and run gracefully to the nearest exit, let the team's rebuilding process finally begin and forget about dreams of that sixth ring. Ain't gonna happen.
For all the Kobe haters who were claiming that the Lakers were a better team without Kobe, congratulations, your wishes just came through. Welcome to the new Lakers, starring Swaggy P. You will be fed a steady diet of D-League basketball in Lakers uniforms. Bon appetit. Be careful for what you wish for.
Kobe is out for the season and talks about returning next year. If he really wants to help the Lakers and wants to go out in a classy way he should consider retiring this summer and giving the Lakers the ability to go out and get some good players with the salary-cap room his retirement would create. Or he could come back, get injured in some way and not come close to getting another ring. But he'll get the $25 million salary he is owed. That's the Steve Nash way. Most of us would like to see him go out in a much more classy fashion.
Having had three surgeries to repair torn rotator cuffs, I have a news flash for Byron Scott: The recovery time for that procedure is a full year. It requires months of grueling, painful physical therapy. And no, the shoulder is never really the same after such an injury. There is zero chance of Kobe playing again this season, and his Hall of Fame career is likely over too. It's time to acknowledge that, give a great star his props and start preparing for a future without Kobe.
Marina del Rey
If the unthinkable does occur and Kobe does retire before his contract runs out, will Time Warner Cable refund some of our future bills?
With the summer of 2015 free agency heating up, and Lakers and Knicks both hoping to regain respect, if you were a free agent, would you rather play for Jim Buss or Phil Jackson?
I'd like to buy Nick Young for what he's worth and sell him for what he thinks he's worth.
Playa del Rey
As the twilight of Kobe's stellar career fades into darkness, it still disgusts me to see a photo of Chris Paul with "Clippers" emblazoned across his chest.
As Magic extended the career of Kareem, who knows if, and, for how long, Paul could have done the same for Kobe? But, alas, the fat-cat egomaniac, Emperor David Stern, cowered to small-market owners and paralyzed the Lakers for years.
Super, thanks for asking
To me it is a sad state of affairs that we insist on doggedly pursuing comments from a disrespectful, ungrateful ignoramus like Marshawn Lynch when there are so many story lines for this Super Bowl that might actually be interesting. The last thing I care to know are the thoughts of a classless, crotch-grabbing jerk who is inexplicably hallowed simply because he is a pretty good football player, and I'd be ecstatic to hear just one journalist with guts tell him so.
Regarding Marshawn Lynch, all I can say is, if someone said, "Here's $30 million, all you have to do is two things: play football and talk to the media," I would first say, "What a country!" and then start singing like a jailbird to anyone within earshot holding a mike.
I have been rudely subjected to a compilation of recent media interview clips starring Bill Belichick. I guess Jerry Seinfeld and George Costanza actually did get their comedy show about absolutely nothing produced.
After Sunday's Super Bowl, only one thing will be deflated: the Patriots.
Hits keep coming
Bill Plaschke, you and I will certainly agree that football is so deeply ingrained in American life it will quite likely exist as long as our nation exists. Yet, as you pointed out ["Hits That Loosen NFL's Grip," Jan. 25], the sport has been the cause of death and massive injuries for probably thousands of lives. We accept the risks because Americans love football.
I encourage you to write a similar story about pro boxing. While football coaches throughout the land are seeking ways to protect their players from concussions, successful boxers apparently are the ones who can cause the most serious harm (to win their fight) that cause concussions. How can we Americans tell the world that our moral code holds high respect for human life while we legalize boxing as a legitimate sport?
David N. Hartman
Thanks to Bill Plaschke and Chris Erskine for two completely different obituaries: "The Hits That Loosen NFL's Grip"; and "Banks Epitomized American Optimism".
After watching numerous documentaries on brain damage to players in the NFL, denial by the league officials, a seeming capitulation by the league in awarding compensation, and many other complex issues, it seems the NFL is dying.
Only optimism from Erskine's column, however. It seems Ernie Banks lives on.
Josh Hamilton was misquoted in an article this week, saying that in 2015 he intends to aim for a .300 batting average, 30 home runs and 100 runs batted in. The true quote was probably that those are Mike Trout's aims.
Out of here
I'm just writing this letter so I won't get fined.
Mark J. Featherstone
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