Lakers management is finally admitting what others have been saying — Kobe Bryant is holding up the team’s progress. General manager Mitch Kupchak told the Los Angeles Times that the Lakers can’t move forward until their aging superstar leaves.

“We cannot move on as a team until Kobe leaves," Kupchak said. "Part of that to me is painful because I've been here 20 years with Kobe. This is a year that's dedicated to Kobe and his farewell. From my point of view, it gives me complete clarity. … We know what our [salary] cap situation is going to be like."

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The Lakers are 8-27 and almost certainly assured of missing the playoffs for the third year in a row, something that has never happened in the history of the franchise dating back to its days in Minneapolis. The 37-year-old Bryant is averaging 17.2 points and shooting just 34.1 percent from the field.

Kupchak did point out that that Lakers have a core of young talent to build with when Bryant leaves after the season. That includes Jordan Clarkson, Julius Randle and D’Angelo Russell among others.

"We're so much in a better spot today than we were a year ago," Kupchak said. "We didn't have that core."