Kupchak described Bryant's transformation from posting rambling, dejected Facebook rants on Friday night to being excited about working toward his return.
“His spirits were through the roof,” Kupchak told Rome. “He was excited about getting this thing handled right away and he was thinking about training camp and next season.”
Kupchak said no one can know for sure if Bryant's heavy volume of minutes during the Lakers' drive to make the playoffs led to his injury. Coach Mike D'Antoni determined how much any Lakers player played, but Bryant also wanted to play as much as possible. Kupchak also related that Bryant has a history of checking himself back into a game without waiting for a coaching move -- long before D'Antoni took the helm.
“We’re dealing with a player who’s at the top of his game in his season 17th season in the NBA,” said Kupchak. “He’s earned that respect.When questioned about Bryant's future with the Lakers, Kupchak said he definitely expects the seven-time All-Star to re-sign with the team.
“There are times during the game when Mike (D’Antoni) or Phil (Jackson) or Mike Brown or Rudy Tomjanovich have taken Kobe out of a game,” said Kupchak. “Then Kobe, at some point, says ‘Well, it’s time for me to go back in.’”