The Lakers traded Blake to the Pacific Division-rival Golden State Warriors in a cash dump trade Wednesday for seldom-used guards Kent Bazemore and MarShon Brooks. Blake was in the midst of his fourth season with the Lakers and became close to Bryant during his tenure there. Bryant expressed dissatisfaction toward Blake being traded on his Twitter account.
Not cool with @SteveBlake5 being gone AT ALL One of my closest teammates and psycho competitor GS picked up gem #smartmove — Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) February 20, 2014
Blake said prior to his first game with the Warriors on Thursday night against the Houston Rockets that he was made aware of Bryant's tweet. He also said he has spoken with Bryant in-depth since the trade, but declined to reveal the details of their conversation. While Bryant has a reputation for being a tough teammate due to his demands for greatness, Blake says he's going to miss Bryant as a teammate and a friend.
"Kobe and I had a great friendship while I was there," Blake said. "He's one of the best teammates I've ever had. I'm definitely going to miss him. I appreciate his support throughout the years. I can't lie, I'm going to miss him."
The Lakers entered last season as one of the projected title contenders with Bryant, Blake, Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol, Metta World Peace and Steve Nash. After a disastrous 2012-13 season filled with injuries, losses and a coaching change, Howard and World Peace departed. Bryant and Nash have been sidelined to injuries for the most part this season.
The Lakers currently are tied with the Sacramento Kings for the worst record in the Western Conference at 18-36. The Warriors, on the other hand, are a playoff contender.
"It's been an interesting year to say the least," said Blake, who was informed of the trade by Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni. "It started out all right. Myself, personally, then I got hurt. As a team we had some injuries and struggles in L.A. But now to have a chance to be on a winning team and be in the playoffs is huge. I look forward to that challenge."
So will Blake always wonder, "What if?," about the 2012-13 Lakers?
"No. Why would I? That's long passed in my memory," Blake said.