NBA: Coach Luke Walton says Lakers don't need Kobe's 'tough love'


Posted at Jan 25 2017 06:19 PM

Do Jordan Clarkson and the Lakers need Kobe Bryant's brand of "tough love?" Coach Luke Walton doesn't think so. Photo by Jerome Miron, USA Today Sports

Kobe Bryant says he's a phone call away if ever the struggling Los Angeles Lakers need some mentorship.

Coach Luke Walton isn't ready to dial his number yet.

The Lakers currently sit second to bottom in the Western Conference with a 16-32 record. Bryant, who retired after 20 seasons with the Lakers last spring, said in an ESPN Radio interview that he doesn't mind team management reaching out to him for help.

Walton, Bryant's teammate in 2 titles runs with the Lakers, said it's cool that the former MVP made the offer but Bryant should use a more measured tone when he talks to the players.

“It depends in what capacity he will come in and help,” Walton told reporters Tuesday.

“After losing by 40, he’s not the first guy I’m calling. Kobe is more about tough love. At that moment, I didn’t need tough love. I didn’t hear that, but it’s good to know he’s here for us.”

Bryant was known as a fierce competitor throughout his playing career but that same intense demeanor alienated him from his teammates oftentimes.

Walton has instituted a more fun, free-flowing system to fit this generation of Lakers and it worked to a certain degree. They got off to a surprisingly good start until injuries set the team back.

They are coming off a 49-point loss to the Mavericks on Monday, their most lopsided defeat in franchise history.

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