Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant lamented the team's injury woes that played a key role in derailing the 2018-19 season and said he'd tell current Lakers superstar LeBron James to "keep pushing" despite a disappointing first year in L.A.
Bryant sat down with ESPN's Mike Greenberg on Wednesday's edition of Get Up to discuss the Lakers' underwhelming campaign and where James, president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and the rest of the organization goes from here.
"You just gotta keep pushing," Bryant said of his potential advice to LeBron (via Chelsea Howard of Sporting News). "Seasons like this are what make the championships worth it."
When asked about Magic, he replied: "It's just a matter of being patient. Obviously they'll make smart decisions. You have opportunities, things, pieces that you can trade, assets of that sort, or you can stay with the young guys who are extremely talented and have great upside and let them develop. Either direction you go should be a good direction."
The Lakers own a 31-40 record and will soon be eliminated from postseason contention. They were firmly in the playoff race for a while, but the season started to fall apart when James suffered a groin injury in a Christmas Day clash with the Golden State Warriors.
LeBron, who joined Los Angeles on a four-year, $153.3 million contract in free agency, ended up missing five weeks of action, and the team has never recovered.
Bryant thinks the season would have played out differently if James, Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball and Rajon Rondo weren't forced to the sideline with injuries throughout the year.
"When they were rolling, I mean, they were playing very well, I think exceeding people's expectations," he said. "But then they got hit with all these injuries. Kind of set 'em back, knocked them off-kilter a little bit. It's hard to reboot that, and so now they get caught in that rut. But next year should be better."
The Lakers roster could look a lot different by next season with the front office likely to hunt for additional star power to join James. New Orleans Pelicans power forward Anthony Davis figures to headline the L.A. rumor mill once again this summer.