"Because Kobe understands winning,"in February. "He understands, also, these players. I would call: 'What role you want? ... If you've got a day, just give me that day. I'll take that. Whatever time he has, I want him to come and be a part of it."
Now that Magic is in charge, he's sticking to his word. In an interview with SiriusXM NBA Radio this week, Magic said there's a plan in place to get Bryant involved, and that the Black Mamba has indicated he wants to be a part of the process.
"Kobe wants to be a part of it," said Johnson, who is the Lakers' president. "He wants to be involved, and I told him any kind of way he wants to be involved. We don't want him to come into work every day, no. We just want his expertise and pick his brain and also, show me or tell me what's missing. So then I can say, 'OK, hey, maybe I missed that. I'm going to jump on that.' He got great ideas, so we going to implement a plan where we can have him involved."
The move has been part of the strategy for months. The Lakers hired Rob Pelinka, Bryant's longtime agent, as GM in March. And Pelinka since has publicly backed Bryant's involvement with the club. Johnson has no experience as a team president, but he is facing big decisions where Bryant's input could help, including who to draft with the No. 2 overall selection on June 22. Bryant also could be involved in recruiting Pacers star Paul George, who will be a free agent next summer and is rumored to be interested in joining the team.