|Kobe Bryant says roster moves are coming for the Lakers. (Getty Images)|
The NBA's trade deadline sits roughly one month away, and for Los Angeles Lakers All-Star guard Kobe Bryant, that means roster improvements are just around the corner.
ESPNLA.com reports that Bryant took to the radio airwaves to express his expectation that the Lakers will make moves in advance of the trade deadline to help push the Lakers towards Bryant's sixth title.
These statements amount to light pressure on management from Bryant. He's not demanding the world -- Deron Williams or Dwight Howard -- and he sounds like he has fully processed how hard the Lakers got jobbed in the Chris Paul fiasco. But he's also not willing to settle with the roster status quo, or he wouldn't publicly verbalize how "sure" he is that moves are coming.
"I'm sure they'll do something," Bryant said. "They'll tweak something. I don't know what. But I'm sure they'll do something."
Bryant balked at the chance to address specifically what roster moves would be necessary to fortify the Lakers' championship aspirations, but he supported the approach made by Lakers' management to improve the team.
"The motivation is for us to build a contender," Bryant said. "It's not to just kind of sit around and see what falls in our lap. That's not the impression that I get from management at all, so I think that allows me to be patient. You can't just rush into things and then you make bad decisions, you make bad choices, you're locked into bad contracts. So, it's important to be patient, make right choices and we'll be fine."
After a shaky start, the Lakers are stuck in the middle of the crowded Western Conference table, sitting in seventh place with a record of 14-11 on Thursday. They're just 1.5 games out of the fourth seed and just 1.5 games ahead of the eleventh seed, so roster improvement, even a "tweak" like Bryant describes, has major implications.
The Lakers stand out from that Western Conference pack as obvious buyers because of Bryant's all-or-nothing need to win a title, because of the large-market expectations that go with being the Lakers and because of the Lamar Odom trade exception, which allows L.A. to take on salary in a short-term roster boost type move.
Given Bryant's steadiness and center Andrew Bynum's health and career-year production, all eyes continue to be on the point guard position, and the Lakers were recently linked to Ramon Sessions in one report. That move, or one similar, would qualify as a "tweak," and it would make a meaningful difference to L.A.'s playoff positioning.