Defiant Kobe doesn’t see overhaul in Lakers’ plans

Kobe Bryant’s(notes) face seemed to instantly boil as he was asked about the “decline” of the Los Angeles Lakers. Such talk has taken root ever since the Dallas Mavericks stunningly swept the Lakers in the second round of the playoffs, ending Los Angeles’ two-year championship reign.

He called breakup talk “nonsense” at
his exit interview with the media at the team’s practice facilities on
Wednesday, and believes the Lakers’ current core group will make another
title run next season.One of the biggest voices leading the reconstruction chorus is former
Lakers star Magic Johnson, a team vice president. He has said it is
best to blow up the team. Bryant quipped that Johnson’s “Showtime”
Lakers of the 1980s weren’t broken up when they failed to three-peat and
continued to succeed.

A disappointed Bryant called this
past season a “waste of a year.” But unless the Lakers make a major
trade, expect a similar group since all the core players are under
contract next season. General manager Mitch Kupchak echoed Bryant’s

“You’re not going to contend for a championship with a non-veteran
team,” Kupchak said. “With the core players we have intact I think we
can continue to contend. We may have to look to improve certain areas,
but once again that’s not something we’ve sat down and discussed yet.”

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