Kobe reportedly needs extended rest, but it probably won't happen
When it comes to his farewell tour, Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant is in a bit of a pickle. On the one hand, Bryant wants to play. That's especially true if the Lakers are visiting a city for the last time in Bryant's career. Saying goodbye to every fan base is a big part of his last season.
On the other, Bryant is really banged up. He's experienced back, shoulder and Achilles soreness this year, missing eight of the Lakers' 40 games, and he had to leave Tuesday's game against the Pelicans due to that bothersome Achilles. He needs to rest.
That impossible balancing act has come to a head, as Lakers trainer Gary Vitti reportedly has told coach Byron Scott that Bryant needs to be "shut down" for at least a week. Of course, that doesn't mean Bryant is going to give such an extended break a second thought:
A glance at the schedule reveals that the timing could be right for Bryant to hit the bench, given his goal of playing on the road. The Lakers visit the Warriors for the final time this season on Thursday. Bryant will likely do whatever he can to play in that game. Then, however, the Lakers visit the Jazz (a team they'll visit once again near the end of the year), followed by a stretch of three consecutive home games. After a quick trip to Portland, the Lakers are back in Los Angeles for two more games, which would mark two weeks of rest for Bryant.
Yet resting Bryant at home raises another issue. Why is it fair that Lakers fans should bear the brunt of Bryant's attempt to bid the league adieu? They're the diehards who are paying out the nose to see their favorite player go through his last hurrah, and too often, they're not receiving word that Bryant will sit until just before tip-off.
There was a chance to avoid this whole mess, but the Lakers blew it at the start of the season with the way they handled Bryant's return from last season's injury. Trying to play him the maximum number of minutes his body would allow has resulted in both the wheels coming off and the young guys not having the experience or confidence to pick up the slack with the Black Mamba on the sideline. Now, everyone affiliated with the Lakers, from ownership down to the fans, is paying the price.