Prior to his youth summer basketball camp at UC Santa Barbara on Wednesday, Kobe Bryant took time out to answer questions from the media, addressing everything from Carmelo Anthony to his physical fitness.
He was really excited about it, too:
It's beginning to look more and more like 'Melo will re-sign with the New York Knicks, but that didn't keep Mamba from expressing his desire to play with the seven-time NBA All-Star.
Lakers Nation's Serena Winters captured the quote:
Kobe on waiting to play with Melo: "Ya, I would love to play [with him] We've really clicked since 2008."— Serena Winters (@SerenaWinters) July 9, 2014
While he was open to talking about the highly sought-after free agent, he wasn't able to provide any inside scoop, as ESPN's Dave McMenamin noted:
Kobe Bryant on Melo: "Everybody is here to read tea leaves ... I don't have any new information"— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) July 9, 2014
When it comes to the eight-year-olds, on the other hand, he may be a little more forthcoming:
Kobe to his campers: "If you have a question about free agency, come up and ask me. I'll give you the real answer, not the media answer"— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) July 9, 2014
We'll be sure to keep you updated once little Jimmy breaks the news on the future of Anthony and LeBron James. In the meantime, Bryant continued to discuss the Lakers and free agency.
Even with players like Gordon Hayward and Chandler Parsons signing offer sheets while the Lakers wait around for the Anthony domino to fall, Kobe isn't opposed to his team's strategy:
Kobe says it has been "worth the wait" for the Lakers' plan to try for Melo and LeBron even though other FAs are starting to sign elsewhere— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) July 9, 2014
He also was optimistic that a backup plan is in place, even if Anthony opts to go in a different direction:
Kobe on a Plan B: "We have several options. Depending on the timing of this process if effects some of those."— Serena Winters (@SerenaWinters) July 9, 2014
Kobe: "Plan B is a solid plan. You just have to play the waiting game a little bit and see what things shake out."— Serena Winters (@SerenaWinters) July 9, 2014
That said, he won't be a happy camper—literally—if the Lakers don't add some significant pieces to help him win right away:
Kobe on the patience to sit thru another rebuilding year: "I've never had patience. I'm not going to start now!"— Serena Winters (@SerenaWinters) July 9, 2014
Kobe on message to Pau: "My biggest message to him was make sure you enjoy the process. The ball's in your court."— Serena Winters (@SerenaWinters) July 9, 2014
Kobe on Pau coming to the Lakers if Melo came: "I think it will help his decision a lot more."— Serena Winters (@SerenaWinters) July 9, 2014
Of course, with the Lakers intent on filling out the roster, it's easy to forget they still don't have a head coach. If Kobe could pick—there's no denying he has plenty of clout in the decision-making process—he would go with former Lakers guard Byron Scott:
Kobe on Byron Scott: "He was my rookie mentor ... We've had a tremendously close relationship throughout the years"— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) July 9, 2014
Another storyline surrounding Mamba this offseason has been his weight. A picture of Bryant looking a bit out of shape recently surfaced, and because all photos on the Internet are both genuine and not at all misleading, it led to speculation that he has put on some pounds.
Bryant put an end to those rumors, however:
Kobe says he's at 218 pounds: "Physically I feel great ... I feel sharp, crisp"— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) July 9, 2014
It's already over a week into July, but Bryant and the Lakers still have a very busy offseason ahead of them, from using their barrels of cap space to avoid a rebuilding year to figuring out who will run the team from the bench.
Still, despite all the variables surrounding La La Land, Bryant, for the most part, sounded confident in his team's plans and future. With a quiet summer so far, it's never a bad thing to get some reassurance from your team's superstar.
On Wednesday, Bryant gave Lakers Nation just that.