There is an argument to suggest that lockout was aimed at more than one team…
Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant believes that the organisation can build a championship calibre team for next season, and says the 2011 lockout was made to restrict them from doing so.
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Back in 2011, the NBA owners locked out the players which in turned forced a stoppage of the season while a new collective bargaining agreement was negotiated.
While many believe that it was an attempt to level out the entire field in the league, Bryant believes that it was a strategy to prevent the Lakers from continuing to dominate.
The agreement ensured that the owners had a more favourable distribution of income and it was suggested that it moved to help restore a competitive balance in the NBA.
However, along with the decision to veto Chris Paul’s trade move to LA, Bryant is still adamant that it was all part of a plan that was targeted at hitting the Lakers.
In an interview with GQ, Bryant was asked that given the struggles of the Lakers and his goal of winning titles, why would he even play these last two seasons.
“I know what Mitch [Kupchak, the Lakers GM] tells me. I know what Jim and Jeanie [Buss, the team owners] tell me. I know that they are hell-bent about having a championship caliber team next season, as am I.”
While that appears to be impossible given the financial restrictions and amount of rebuilding that the franchise would have to do, the topic switched to the lockout and Bryant made his feelings perfectly clear.
“Well, okay: Look at the  lockout. That lockout was made to restrict the Lakers.It was. I don’t care what any other owner says. It was designed to restrict the Lakers and our marketability.
“Everything that was done with that lockout was to restrict the Lakers’ ability to get players and to create a sense of parity, for the San Antonios of the world and the Sacramentos of the world. But a funny thing happened, coming out of that lockout: Even with those restrictions, the Lakers pulled off a trade [for Chris Paul] that immediately set us up for a championship, a run of championships later, which saved money.
“Now, the NBA vetoed that trade. But the Lakers pulled that sh-t off, and no one would have thought it was even possible. The trade got vetoed, because they’d just staged the whole lockout to restrict the Lakers. Mitch got penalized for being smart. But if we could do that…”
The Paul trade veto was arguably more to do with ownership reclaiming power from the players as a whole, and it wasn’t interpreted as a move to hit the Lakers specifically by many.
However, Bryant still believes otherwise and will hope that despite his team’s struggles over the last couple of seasons that they will remain an attractive free agency destination this summer. The Lakers will look to rebuild and put together a competitive team for his final year in the league, but it might be difficult.