After Kobe Bryant went down with a knee fracture last December, the immediate future of the superstar was put in serious doubt. Ultimately, the knee injury ended Kobe's season making it two straight years the veteran guard suffered season-ending injuries. With the Los Angeles Lakers recently signing him to a two-year deal worth $48.5 million, it comes as no surprise the team was concerned, but GM Mitch Kupchak recent spoke with ESPN's Andy Katz on May 15 and remains confident Kobe will bounce back next season.
Kupchak told Katz that Kobe is trying to get back to form while working out daily at the practice facility in El Segundo. Kupchak believes Kobe will be ready for the start of next season:
Fortunately, we signed a good player in November in Kobe Bryant. He’s been working out everyday at our facility, he looks good [...] I think he’ll be ready to go. He was probably ready to go a month ago.
Along with giving an update on Kobe's status, Kupchak also let it be known that Kobe won't have a say in the hiring of the next head coach of the Lakers. This is a bit of a sensitive subject with the five-time NBA champion recently indicating a desire to be a part of the process after not having a say in the hiring of Mike Brown or Mike D'Antoni.
The Lakers brass has been adamant about taking their time in the hiring of the next head coach of the storied franchise after having unfavorable results with Brown and D'Antoni. Kobe wanting to provide input isn't surprising considering potentially having two years left to win that elusive sixth ring, but team continues to insist not needing the superstar's stamp of approval moving forward.
At this point in time, plenty of candidates have emerged for the Lakers with no shortage of viable options. Byron Scott appears to be the frontrunner as of right now, but plenty of candidates like George Karl, Jeff Van Gundy and Derek Fisher will likely receive consideration.