Charles Barkley: Lakers Should Shut Down Kobe Bryant for Season

Andy BaileyFeatured ColumnistDecember 20, 2013

ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 16:  Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers looks on during free throws in the final mintues of their 114-100 loss to the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena on December 16, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

"Kobe Bryant shouldn't play anymore this year."

It's not uncommon for Charles Barkley to be the guy with the guts to say what everyone's already thinking. And that's exactly what he did on TNT Thursday night.

He went on to explain his opinion after Kenny Smith reacted with surprise:

The thrust of Chuck's argument is that this L.A. Lakers team is not going to compete for a title this year. They might not even compete for a playoff spot. So what's the point? 

Why risk further damage to the Achilles and now the knee when you're signed on to play for two more full seasons at a price of $48.5 million?

The Lakers and Kobe would be much better off having him back at full strength next season, with perhaps a more competitive roster.

Or maybe even a new pupil for Kobe to mold and help develop. That might be the next great challenge for him, as it's difficult to imagine him carrying a team anymore:

Jordan was a shell of his previous self in Washington, and Barkley thinks Kobe will follow that pattern.

But that doesn't mean he can't still have a positive impact on the future of the organization. If the Lakers shut Kobe down and wind up in the lottery, they might finally find his heir.

And if they're lucky enough to land a potential superstar like Jabari Parker, Andrew Wiggins or Joel Embiid, that heir might help Kobe compete for a sixth NBA title.


For 140-character pearls of wisdom from Bleacher Report's Andy Bailey, follow him on Twitter: