During a press conference yesterday, Kobe Bryant was asked about everything from Jason Collins coming out to the Lakers future and shared why he wants Dwight Howard back. He even has a plan for Dwight (that includes cartoons) and shared some advice for him.
Check out what he had to say…
Kobe Bryant likes the ring of a different one for next season: “One more year.”
“There’s a lot on the table for them, with these new penalties and so forth,” Bryant said of the challenges facing Lakers ownership this offseason as the new, more punitive penalties in the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement kick in.
“It’s a tough call to make. But then again, it is one more year. One more year. That’s how I look at it. One more year of this thing.
“Our contracts are ending. … Pau [Gasol] is up after next year. Hopefully, we get Dwight [Howard] locked up so he’s here for a while and the future is kind of set already. So let’s take a crack at this thing.”
Bryant said he believes the team “finally figured it out” when it finished the season on a 28-12 run, and that if the core of himself, Gasol, Howard and Steve Nash returns, “We can win a championship, no doubt about it.”
“We know what we need to do,” Bryant said. “We know what that rhythm feels like. To break that apart and now have to start fresh wouldn’t make sense.
“There’s no more confusion about how I should play with Dwight or how Dwight should play with Pau. So to allow that to dissipate and have to do that again with another group, it’s a headache.”
Bryant said he felt Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni was on the same page as far as the way the team should play next season if the core group returns.
“We talked about that,” he said. “It’s not something he’s even considering. If you’ve got Pau here and you’ve got Dwight here, you’re going to post the ball hard, slow it down. If you’ve got the opportunity to run, you run. The same way we’ve been playing.”
It is for this reason Gasol’s name comes up so often in trade speculation and talk of whose contract the Lakers could exercise the amnesty provision on to solve their financial woes. Gasol is due $19.3 million in the final year of his contract next season.
Bryant has long been a supporter of the Spaniard, with whom he has won two NBA titles in Los Angeles. He reiterated his support to general manager Mitch Kupchak and D’Antoni on Tuesday.
“I was pretty clear when I met with Mitch. I said, ‘I want Pau here,’” Bryant said.
“It’s not even a question. It’s not even a discussion. I think he gives us the best chance to win titles. You bring Dwight back, and we’re off and running.
“You have to look at how well we started playing together once this thing got solved. It finally got solved, and we were all clicking and rolling. That’s my message.”
Bryant also had a message for Howard, who will be an unrestricted free agent July 1.
“We all pride ourselves on being businessmen to a certain extent,” Bryant said. “I think from a business standpoint it makes more sense, both contractually and also perception-wise. This is an incredible market. It’s a great place. A lot of things go well for you when you win here.
“If I was him, I’d re-sign.”