The Lakers have lost 8 in a row and seem assured of missing the playoffs. On the bright side, no one is going to jail, and Chucky Atkins can clearly ID who’s in charge. From the Los Angeles Daily News’ Ron Siler.
All season long, the Lakers have fought the battle of perception vs. reality when it comes to Kobe Bryant and the power he wields within the organization. Now one of Bryant’s teammates officially has opened the subject for debate.
It came Sunday with a snarled answer from Chucky Atkins that silenced the locker room as soon as the words escaped his mouth. The question put to Atkins was what he would do as general manager to remake the 10th-place Lakers.
“I ain’t no GM,” Atkins said. “Ask Kobe. He’s the GM. It’s his team. Go ask him.”
Atkins, who has grown increasingly frustrated in recent weeks, was asked to clarify if he was, in fact, saying that Bryant was calling the shots for the organization.
“I don’t know,” Atkins said. “Last I heard they told me that (general manager) Mitch Kupchak was supposed to make the decisions around here. So you all going to ask him those questions, please.”
Atkins became the first Lakers player to call out Bryant this season and made his comments only a half-hour or so after interim coach Frank Hamblen had said morale on the team was “OK” despite eight consecutive losses.
“They seem to get along with one another still,” said Hamblen, who accused the team Thursday of quitting in the second half of a loss to Denver. “They listen to what you have to say, try and go out and do what you want them to do.”
With the Lakers all but certain to miss the playoffs for the first time in 11 years, Atkins was asked what should be done differently next season, and again his words spoke volumes.
“What would you do?” Atkins said. “You watched this (expletive) all year.”
Bryant said of his relationship with Atkins: “He’ll be OK. He’ll just work through it. He’ll be fine. That’s my boy, so I look out for him, make sure he’s doing OK.”