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The year of Kobe's discontent . . . and contentment

May 31, 2008

Friday was the one-year anniversary of Kobe Bryant's trade-me outburst. It happened after the team's quick exit in the 2007 playoffs and his comments were a direct shot at the Lakers' upper management. On that day he had L.A. guessing which way he'd turn next.

Owner Jerry Buss then tried to work out a trade for his unhappy star, but nothing happened.

Early in the 2007-08 season Andrew Bynum emerged as a budding star and Bryant realized this young team had potential.

After Bynum injured his knee, beleaguered General Manager Mitch Kupchak pulled off a miracle trade for Pau Gasol, sending Kwame Brown to the Memphis Grizzlies for the All-Star. Bryant won his first MVP award. Now the Lakers are in the NBA Finals for the first time since 2004.

A look back at the last 12 months:

"I would like to be traded. . . . As tough as it is to say that, as tough as it is to come to that conclusion, there's no other alternative. They obviously want to move in a different direction as far as rebuilding . . . At this point, I'll go play on Pluto right now."

Kobe Bryant, morning, May 30, 2007, to ESPN radio's Stephen A. Smith

"I don't want to go anywhere else. I want to be here for the rest of my career."

Bryant, midday, May 30, 2007, in an interview with ESPN's Dan Patrick

"It's just a matter of I don't want to go no place else." But asked if he still wanted to be traded: "Yes."

Bryant, late afternoon, May 30, 2007, in a Times interview.

"We're a championship-caliber team with [Bynum] in the lineup."

Bryant, Jan. 14, 2008.

Bryant complimented Mitch Kupchak, saying the Lakers' general manager had gone from an "F to an A-plus." April 21, 2008.

"It's Hollywood. It's a movie script." Bryant on accepting the MVP award, May 6, 2008.

"It's a big step for us." Bryant said, after the Lakers eliminated the defending champion Spurs and reached the NBA Finals, May 29, 2008.

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Source: Los Angeles Times

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