Throughout the season, the Lakers have been caught up in numerous trade rumors. League commissioner David Stern even denied a trade that would have sent All-Star point guard Chris Paul to Los Angeles.
In the end, while Paul did move to LA, he wasn't to be wearing a Lakers uniform. Instead, Paul teamed up with Blake Griffin and the Los Angeles Clippers.
All-Star Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard has the Los Angeles Lakers on his wish list, and current Lakers Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum have been involved in trade speculation. The Lakers also lost former sixth man of the year, Lamar Odom, to the Dallas Mavericks.
However, throughout all of these trades and trade rumors that have been tossed around Los Angeles, 33-year-old Kobe Bryant is quietly having one of his best years.
Bryant leads the league in points per game, averaging 28.7, ahead of Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant and Miami's LeBron James. In addition, he is averaging 4.9 assists per game, a Lakers team high, as well as a team high in steals per game with 1.2. Bryant is also averaging 5.8 rebounds per game.
Last season's MVP Derrick Rose averaged 25 points, 7.7 assists and just over four rebounds per game.
Bryant's career averages are 25.4 points per game, to go along with 4.7 assists and 5.3 rebounds per contest. In his 15-year career, the 33-year-old has averaged over 28.7 points in three other seasons. The last time he did was in 2006-07.
When an athlete reaches a certain age, their statistics usually begin to fall. This isn't the case for Kobe Bryant. He is averaging better than his career points, assists and rebounds per game this season.
The Lakers have been a team in the headlines regarding a facelift to their organization. However, despite all of this speculation, the Lakers have found a way to be tied for the lead in the Pacific Division and sit comfortably in the Western Conference as a four seed.
The Lakers wouldn't be anywhere this season without Kobe Bryant playing like he's 25 again.
That being said, Kobe Bryant should be this season's MVP.
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