A day after the Lakers shipped Steve Blake to the Golden State Warriors for a pair of reserve guards in Kent Bazemore and MarShon Brooks -- saving them $4 million in salary and luxury tax implications in the process -- Bryant took to Twitter to offer his disapproval.
In the nearly four seasons that Bryant and Blake were teammates after the point guard came to L.A. as a free agent in the summer of 2010, Bryant often lauded Blake for his tough-nosed approach to the game, even bestowing him with the nickname "Vino Bianco," a remix of his own self-appointed monikers of "Vino" and the "Black Mamba."
Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak downplayed the salary-cap incentive to do the deal Thursday, saying "with this organization, that kind of relief is not really a big number," but rather said it gave L.A. the chance to evaluate young talent that could be a part of the team moving forward.
"It really got to the point where we needed to free up some time in the backcourt to look at Jordan [Farmar] and give Kendall [Marshall] the time that he's earned and let's review and evaluate where we are with those two players," Kupchak said. "And the other part of it is, we got back two young players that are developing."
After spending the last 18 seasons with the Lakers together, it's nothing new for Kupchak to hear Bryant voice his opinion.
Bryant famously ripped team management for leaving Pau Gasol twisting in the wind when trade rumors swirled in February 2012, causing Kupchak to release a statement saying that pursuing trades is part of his responsibility as a GM.
Kupchak expects to hear more input from Bryant this summer, when the team will have anywhere from $22 million to $28 million to spend on the free-agent market.
"I'm sure he'll tell me the players that he'd like to have, and if it's in line with what we would like to have, then I think there will be some influence," Kupchak said. "But if we're on opposite ends, then there probably won't be much influence."