John Locher/Associated Press
The Los Angeles Lakers legend advised Buss to rid the franchise of her brother Jim and longtime general manager Mitch Kupchak as part of a franchise retooling aimed at signing James this summer.
Here is what Bryant said at the time, via Sam Amick of The Athletic:
“Cut it all out at once. I know it’s hard to do, but if you want to turn this ship around, and turn it around sooner rather than later, then you’ve got to make those hard decisions.”
“Jeanie, I know who we’re trying to get; we know who we’re trying to get, so that player is not going to come here with all of this s–t going on. It’s not going to happen,” Bryant told her. “So if you do want to have that focus, and go after that player, then I’m telling you that you’ve gotta clean house, and you’ve gotta just reshuffle the deck and start anew. You have the new practice facility (the UCLA Health Training Center) that we’re just moving into (in the summer of 2017). We’ve got new management, and off we go. But that player is not coming here unless you do that.
“As a player, it’s like, listen, it’s a cultural thing. You’ve got to have the right culture around, especially for him at this stage of his career. You don’t want to come to a team and deal with a bunch of bulls–t, right? You don’t want to come here and be part of an organization where the walls are talking and stuff is getting out left and right and you have this camp and that camp. You don’t want to do that. So I said, ‘You’ve got to start anew.’”
This article will be updated to provide more information on this story as it becomes available.
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October 11, 2018 at 08:30PM