Kobe Bryant: 'It's our job to show up and play'
The anger and frustration remain so fresh for Lamar Odom that his arrival at the Lakers' practice facility Friday only involved having a discussion with General Manager Mitch Kupchak.
But it remained clear in Kobe Bryant's eyes that any hurt feelings Odom and Pau Gasol might feel regarding the Lakers nearly trading them must quickly subside.
"I'm sure it's a little tough at first when you first hear it, kind of the whole shock of the whole situation, but after that, they'll get over it," Bryant said Friday at the Lakers' practice facility in El Segundo. "You don't win back-to-back championships while being soft emotionally. That's not the case."
Bryant spoke in measured, matter-of-fact tones, hardly the mood one would expect considering what happened 24 hours ago. NBA Commissioner David Stern killed a deal among the Lakers, New Orleans Hornets and Houston Rockets that would have brought Chris Paul to the Lakers and sent Gasol to the Rockets and Odom to the Hornets. But there's been plenty of adversarial episodes that made Bryant simply shrug over the botched trade. His continuous feuds with Shaquille O'Neal. His sexual assault case in 2003, though charges were ultimately dropped. His request to be traded before the 2007 training camp.
"I've been in this business for 16 years, I've done seen a lot of crazy [stuff]," Bryant said.
But as far as this latest saga? Bryant didn't seem fazed, something he credits former Lakers Coach Phil Jackson for helping him shrug off such adversities. Bryant admitted he hadn't even talked to Odom yet about the situation. Bryant argued they should feel more anger toward last season's semifinals sweep by the Dallas Mavericks than trade speculation. Bryant defended Stern's decision to nix the trade on two separate occasions.
"You have no choice. You got to do your job," Bryant said before adding a subtle jab at the owners who demanded player salaries be reduced during the lockout negotiations. "This is what we do and we're overpaid to do it. ... well, some of us. ... That's a whole other topic."
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