CLEVELANDLakers forward Luke Walton views Kobe Bryant's recent outbursts about possibly wanting to be traded as temporary products of his frustration with losing.
"We all want to win," Walton said Wednesday. "Hopefully it's going to work itself out. It's over now. We just want it to pass and go on with our lives."
Walton was speaking on an ABC conference call with his father, Bill, and reporters during the NBA Finals in advance of Father's Day.
"He probably said some things that he later regretted and later he actually took back," Luke Walton said of Bryant. "But ultimately, Kobe wants to win. He's used to winning, and he wants to win again."
Walton, Bryant's teammate since 2003, is a free agent, though he hopes to return to the Lakers.
Walton's father was not nearly as understanding toward Bryant, criticizing him for "an attention-grabbing stunt" during the conference finals. Bill Walton, an ESPN analyst, said one could "imagine how mad" Bryant is now that LeBron James is getting "deserved" attention during the NBA Finals.
"Kobe is not comfortable unless the story is about him," Bill Walton said. "The story was about San Antonio, Utah, Cleveland and Detroit."
Walton also said Bryant should appreciate that his supporting cast is superior to what James has, even though Cleveland advanced through a weak Eastern Conference.
"He has a better team around him than LeBron James," Walton said. "Is there anybody on the Cleveland team who is a better player next to LeBron than Lamar Odom is? Would the Lakers trade Kwame Brown and Andrew Bynum for Zydrunas Ilgauskas?"
The Cavaliers will try to extend the NBA Finals tonight in Game 4, even though no playoff team has come back to win a series after trailing, 3-0. James clearly is impressed with the Spurs so far and implied the better team is winning.
"They don't have the greatest athletes in the world, they don't have the greatest shooters in the world, but they have probably the greatest team in the world — and that's what this sport is all about," James said. "It's not about an individual. It's not like tennis; it's not like golf. You have to have one unit."
Spurs forward Bruce Bowen (Cal State Fullerton) is a player to admire, even if he's doing mostly defensive dirty work, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said.
"Next to Avery Johnson, he has gotten more out of his ability than any player I've ever been around," Popovich said of Bowen, who turns 36 today. "He knows exactly what his limits are, he knows how to get the most out of what he does and what he's been given, and he works his fanny off to stay at that level."