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Lakers GM puts Kobe farewell over player development

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Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports

Earlier this week, Greg Popovich used the delightful phrase "superfluous poppycock" (check here to see the context if you missed it) and I immediately knew that we needed to do something with it.

And then I saw this ESPN story where Mitch Kupchak waxes eloquent about the necessity of bowing to the vanity of Kobe Bryant.

"Under normal circumstances [in a season like this], at some point, you would probably concentrate on just developing all your young players...But we can't do that right now."

The man used the word can't when talking about limiting a player who's shooting .348 from the field on the season, and .376 over the last ten games while insisting on taking over 17 shots a game. SBNation's Tom Ziller took on this issue earlier this year when he made the compelling argument that the Lakers needed to save Kobe from himself by playing him less.

But L.A. won't even consider it, even with the once-great Bryant dominating plays, ignoring teammates, and wasting possessions like this:

I know that Kobe wants his farewell tour. And it's obvious that the Lakers organization wants to facilitate that. I'm a Spurs fan, so the Lake-show can go on being irrelevant for years more and I'll be fine. But a career can be honored without pretending that an obviously-past-his-prime player is capable of playing the minutes he used to without hurting the team.

As long as he's the G.M., it's Kupchak's franchise to do as he pleases. But to my mind, the amount of playing time Kobe's getting is superfluous, and the notion that Bryant must be allowed to do as he pleases regardless of the consequences is poppycock.

UPDATE: As was was astutely pointed out in the  comments, the Lakers have a draft pick at risk this season and it is in their best long-term interest to lose as many games as possible in order to shore themselves of keeping their pick. That could very well play a huge role in this, and I did not consider it before I posted the story.