Kobe Bryant On Carmelo Anthony, Nuggets Fans And Nba Free Agency

The Nuggets host the Lakers tomorrow night at Lakers practice today at Pepsi Center, Kobe spoke to reporters about numerous topics, including his own trade demands (that he ultimately squashed):
Reporter: Thoughts on some of the Nuggets fans booing Carmelo.
Kobe: Its hard to trade him, so maybe he wont be traded, who knows. But youve got to show support. Hes still playing hard. Put yourself in his shoes. If youre teeter-tottering about going somewhere, youd be more inclined to go somewhere where theyll cheer you.
What about Denver-born, Denver-raised fans if your favorite player doesnt want to be on your team anymore
Kobe: Oh please. Dont give me that (expletive). My first game back when I demanded a trade, they booed the first game and didnt boo the rest of the way.
Why did they stop?
Kobe: Fans understood that I was going to play hard and compete every single night. They expressed their feelings in the first game and didnt hear it again.
When Melo makes shots, they dont boo, but when he misses, they sometimes boo.
Kobe: Thats (expletive). Either you ride with him or you dont.
And last night, he scored 35 points and they booed him in the postgame interview (on the court).
Kobe: Thats stupid.
Does part of you feel bad for Carmelo?
Kobe: No, because I know him. Hes strong. I dont feel bad for him. he has thick skin, hes competitive.
With LeBron and Carmelo, are we seeing the power of the NBA player them being able to control their destiny?
Kobe: How is he controlling his destiny?
Reporter: Because hes basically controlling where hes going to play.
Kobe: No, youre seeing the power of the league, controlling players who dont have the freedom to move wherever they want free agency isnt free agency anymore. Its just not. So its the reverse.
What do you mean its not the same?
Kobe: Players go other places to take significant paycuts to play someplace else and get less years (on their contracts). Shaquille was a free agent in 1996 or whenever that was. That was true free agency going to the team of your choice, have a similar contracts, similar structure. The way it is now, its not the same.
Is that because you can now get more money if you stay with your existing team?
Kobe: Right.
In 2004, did you feel it wasnt all you expected free agency to be?
Kobe: Well I kind of had the upper hand because I had a no-trade clause, so my situation was different now thats player power (grinning).
Reporter: Is there fear about the impending CBA?
Kobe: Theres concern, in terms of the amount of liberties players have to make a living in whatever city they choose. At the end of the day, its just basketball, and Im sure business folks will work out their end of the deal.
What makes Denver difficult to play against?
Kobe: We have a history with them. They play us extremely tough here. They know how we play and they give us a tough game every time.
I heard their inbound passing is much better.
Kobe: A couple years too late (with a smile).
When you look at Melos situation he likes the city of Denver, but knows that going to a bigger market could benefit him
Kobe: It has nothing to do with a bigger market. Its about winning. If you want to keep a player here, make the right decisions. Make the right choices with personnel, get a team around a guy to help you win, and there would be no problems.
They have cap space this summer, so one could argue that if he wants to be in a situation to win, then Denver would be one of the best situations.
Kobe: Then Denver will make the right decisions, bring in the right personnel and hell stick around. Its not rocket science. . I know for me, its all about winning. In my situation, we werent spending the money to get players they had me playing around with Smush Parker. Until they decided they wanted to make the necessary sacrifices financially to get a team thats competitive, I didnt want to be (with the Lakers). Its as simple as that.

Leave a Reply