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SFGate.com: If the Warriors see the Lakers as a threat to their postseason plans – and there’s no reason to believe otherwise – they have to be loving Kobe Bryant’s presence on the U.S. national team, currently steamrolling through the competition at the FIBA Americas tournament in Las Vegas.
Once this thing is over, Bryant returns to his worst nightmare: playing on a team that did nothing to appease his summertime malaise. While the Warriors assemble another dangerous, exciting product (this is assuming Don Nelson ends his absurd holdout), the Lakers will be stuck with a moody superstar who wants out.
This is Kobe’s season, right now, against the Venezuelas and Brazils of the world. He’s playing with Jason Kidd, a career-long dream. He’s flying down the court with LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire, and even with all that talent surrounding him, he’s still the man. Those on the scene say Bryant’s dominance has been evident from the first day of U.S. training camp. He’s the best shooter, the best defender, even the hardest worker. He’s living a dream.
Imagine Bryant’s disgust when he returns to the Lakers and sees Andrew Bynum resuming his tedious struggle toward respectability. No Kidd, no Kevin Garnett, no Jermaine O’Neal, just the same sorry cast of characters. Back in February, when the Lakers had a chance to trade for Kidd, general manager Mitch Kupchak balked because he wouldn’t give up Bynum. It’s entirely possible that Bynum, still just 19, will blossom into an elite center. He certainly has the body and the tools. It’s just that “projects” usually don’t work out so well in the NBA. If you can play in that league, chances are you proved it within weeks, not years.