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Echoing Nash, Kobe says he wants Lakers to bring back Gasol, Howard

Apr 30, 2013, 6:43 PM EDT

San Antonio Spurs v Los Angeles Lakers - Game Four Getty Images

It’s this simple: The Lakers players believe if management will bring this core with Mike D’Antoni as the coach for one more season they can make a serious run at a title.

Those Lakers see themselves as the side that went 28-12 for a stretch once guys started to get healthy and found a style that fit. They think they found something that works. They want another shot.

Specifically, Kobe Bryant wants another shot.

Steve Nash told the media that earlier during the Lakers exit media sessions.

We’ll see if that happens. Dwight Howard said he would take his time in making a decision, but the smart money is betting he will be back.

Bryant also admitted the Lakers need to get more athletic, to get more speed. That’s where things get tricky — the Lakers are so far over the luxury tax line that all they can offer is one taxpayer’s mid-level deal ($3 million or so) and then minimum deals. And the kind of athletes the Lakers need will get better offers elsewhere. The Lakers could try and find a trade that works for those athletes, but the only trade asset of real value on the team is Pau Gasol. And to trade him breaks up the core.

As for his Achilles, Kobe understood this was going to take time (he admitted he would not likely be ready to play when the Lakers head to China in the preseason. But he could be back somewhere between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and Kobe said he understood that he would not be quite the same player.

I’ve already told you I think the Lakers can’t come back exactly the same team next year. But we also don’t really know what the core of this team could have done if healthy and with a training camp under a coach there the entire season. This last season was a perfect storm of things going wrong for the Lakers, they think they’ve gotten through the bad Karma.

  1. themars211 - Apr 30, 2013 at 7:00 PM

    HELL NO!!!! Diehard Laker fan here………..I can see the players. But not with that coach! No bueno! No sir…no good. Something has to change!

    • themars211 - Apr 30, 2013 at 7:02 PM

      I thought about it again. HELL NO!!! Get younger and less injury prone! Plus the coach and players don’t fit. He refused to change for too long.

  2. charlutes - Apr 30, 2013 at 7:09 PM

    The smart GM locks up Howard and replaces Gasol with someone younger. Realistically Gasol’s talent is easy to replace at this stage in his career.

    • themars211 - Apr 30, 2013 at 7:22 PM

      Its not that his talent is that all that easy to replace. He is older, injury prone, and affected by everything around him emotionally. He is also the most logical piece of the 3 that can be traded while he still has value. We need to upgrade the bench, shooters, and get more athletic. We can’t even start to do that until we make at least one big change.

      • badintent - May 1, 2013 at 3:01 AM

        Repeat after me, Lakers never Had a bench this season. Clippers and Knicks have a bench. Repeat 179 times. Then take a big toke and inhale.Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

  3. kerby720 - Apr 30, 2013 at 7:43 PM

    Please God no more of this if we were healthy, if we had Phil Jackson, blah blah blah. The fact is, we cannot compete in this new era of the NBA. Even if we were fully healthy, I can’t see us competing with the Nuggets, Clippers, or Thunder in the West. Teams that are athletic run us out of the building. Phil Jackson is not the solution either. We’ve been having these problems for the last 3 or 4 years. Phil, though he is a HOF coach, cannot help us with our athleticism or lack of youth. The fact that we got our whole salary cap tied up in 3 players doesn’t help either (especially next year Kobe’s contract is $30+ million!?!?).

    We need to get younger, more athletic, and have better depth. Enough of this reloading bs. We need to rebuild/reload. I’m fine with the Lakers being down a year or two, if it means it can set us up for another 5 or 6 years of realistically competing for a championship.

    • loungefly74 - Apr 30, 2013 at 11:37 PM

      “We’ve been having these problems for the last 3 or 4 years…” lets not forget, the Lakers won back to back titles in 2009-10. sure…they have issues now…but franchises can change their fortunes pretty quickly…especially if that franchise is the Lakers… I do like your post overall.

  4. melkipershero - Apr 30, 2013 at 7:56 PM

    I want Dwight back, but only because Ill miss most of next year and dont have to deal with him

    -Kobe

  5. alqj24 - Apr 30, 2013 at 8:16 PM

    Really hard to trade Pau for athletic pieces(or anyone really) because of looming 2014 free agency. Lakers want to retool using that method, and would have to find a trade partner that can give up about $19M in salary, have expiring contracts like Pau, and are actually good and can help the team. I haven’t checked the trade machine to see what could be done, but gonna be hard I think.
    As for Lakers bringing back the same team, I’m guessing they mean core guys. I don’t mind that at all. Give this one more go. Get some infusion of youth and athleticism, mainly on the wings, and surround the core with it. Otherwise, this year was really a wasted year. They gained nothing. If they keep the guys, they learned how to play with each other.

  6. cowpiesnotcowboys - Apr 30, 2013 at 8:16 PM

    The chances of this core team remaining healthy for a run at the title are close to zero. They are already too old: adding another year makes it considerably worse.

    If they face facts, Kobe will be very little help to them next year, and then he is done. Their best move will be to cut bait and amnesty Kobe.

    • jimeejohnson - Apr 30, 2013 at 8:53 PM

      Cowpies have good things hidden, just like Kobe the Black Mamba. I’m no Lakers fan, but I recognize an all-time great when I see one. Ain’t no time to hate.

  7. ocgunslinger - Apr 30, 2013 at 9:15 PM

    So what exactly are you saying Mars? Dump the core ( amnesty Kobe) and get a new coach?

    • themars211 - May 1, 2013 at 12:41 AM

      no more like different coach and try to trade Gasol’s expiring contract…..stranger things have happened. Never understood Antoni’s (no “D”) insistence on running a 7 man rotation with this old team.

  8. dyn0myte - Apr 30, 2013 at 10:01 PM

    ” they think they’ve gotten through the bad Karma….

    As long as any office in any Laker facility bears the name “Jim Buss”…

    …the “bad karma” ain’t done

  9. monkeyhateclean - Apr 30, 2013 at 11:06 PM

    It must be nice for Kobe to spend the Lakers money. Each of those guys will need $20+ per to resign with the Lakers, and best case, the 38 year old Kobe would be lucky to bebe a tenth of himself in his prime, which he won’t ever be a tenth of.

    If I were the NBA, I’d force aging megastars like Kobe to a “worst team ever” tour. If he wants to continue play in the NBA. 1 year contracts on the worst NBA teams in the league. Suns, Magic, Cavs, Bobcats. If Kobe is so good, he’d help these terrible teams. Etc Etc. No one making lunch-boxes for aging “superstars”. Kobe speaks Italian, so international reasons to not pay him for his terrible NBA rep!

  10. mazblast - May 1, 2013 at 12:23 AM

    The injuries were killers, but mostly predictable when your starting roster is that old. What really buried them was the lack of depth, and until they open up some cap space, as the article says, they won’t be able to get the kind of role players a good team needs to have coming off the bench.

    Therefore, someone has to go, or DH has to move on, or KoMe has to take a pay cut. Since everything Lakers has to be on KoMe’s terms and he’s not exactly Mr. Altruistic Team Player, that means a trade, or Howard has to sign elsewhere.

  11. sdlakerfan - May 1, 2013 at 2:53 AM

    Don’t think keeping the core is the right way to go…agree we still won’t be able to compete with the best although we can improve some IF we stay healthy. Doubt that Nash can stay healthy – he’s had issues for yrs.

    Dwight’s the only one that can bring us meaningful pieces. Hate to say it but I’d like to see us sign and trade Dwight for a decent point guard, a serviceable big, an athletic wing, and draft picks. Maybe amnesty Nash – 9 mil a yr is just too much for a constant hobbler.

  12. paulhargis53 - May 1, 2013 at 8:44 AM

    And the idiocy continues with you lakers fans….
    Nash CAN’T BE amnestied!
    Kobe CAN’T take a pay cut!

    The Lakers CAN’T turn it around like in years past, the cba dictates that. What I’m saying is, you’ll have to give up a major piece(Kobe or Howard) to do that!

    Gasol is going to bring back salary in return, not another expiring contract(s).

    You people are self proclaimed ” smartest fans in the nba”, why then do you always look and sound so uninformed and foolish on these boards??

  13. omniusprime - May 1, 2013 at 9:05 AM

    Keeping that decrepit Trash Nash around any longer will kill any chances of the Lakers winning a championship, While the run at the end of the season was good it still wasn’t good enough. Nash and Flake were consistently pathetic on defense, always a step or two late and overpaid too many dollars. Get rid of the two old geezer guards to free up some money to bring in younger talent that can play defense or promote Goudelock.

    Getting rid of Dumbtoni is key to a better Lakers effort. Dumbtoni couldn’t coach his way out of a wet paper bag with a hole a mile wide in it. He’s just the wrong coach with the wrong system for LA. Bring back someone familiar with the Laker’s traditional big man modus operandi and hopefully someone who can coach the Triangle offense like Byron Scott or Kurt Rambis.

    If Kobe really wants to win he needs to recognize he isn’t the player who deserves so much in salary, he needs to prove he wants to win another title by giving up some of his salary so the Lakers can bring in better bench talent. I’m still banking on Kobe starting the first game of the season, I mean do you seriously think Mr. Physical Therapy is going to slack off on his recovery and sit still on the bench for a month or two?

    Fire Dumbtoni!!! Trade Nash & Flake!!! Get Well Kobe!!! Thanks Dr. Buss!!!

    • Kurt Helin - May 6, 2013 at 9:24 PM

      NBA players cannot renegotiate their contracts down, as is done in the NFL. Again, to make this perfectly clear, even if he wanted to Kobe couldn’t take less money next season. In 2014 he can (and likely will) take less if he comes back.

  14. fanofthegame79 - May 1, 2013 at 10:06 AM

    I haven’t checked the ESPN Trade Machine, but if I were Mitch Kupcheck, I’d be calling the Heat to see if they want to do a sign and trade: Dwight Howard for Chris Bosh. The Lakers keep everyone else…move Pau back to his natural center position, and now they have a stretch-4 in Bosh to help run with D’Antoni’s system. Heat get Howard, a defensive-minded center who can rebound and patrol the paint. The Heat have enough shooters with their current roster, and they currently play Bosh as the center. To me, it’s a win-win for both teams.

    • aboogy123456 - May 1, 2013 at 11:08 AM

      I’m sorry but the lakers would never and should never do that, and the heat would obviously do it in an instant. Chris bosh might be easier to fit into the offense, but he’s not nearly on the same level as Dwight. Dwight is their future, you can’t build a team around chris bosh. the lakers are thinking longer term than just next year.

      • fanofthegame79 - May 2, 2013 at 1:13 PM

        I don’t think Howard, in his 9 years in the NBA, has shown you can build a team around him either.

  15. realninerfan22 - May 1, 2013 at 10:35 AM

    No they don’t. He just totting the company line

  16. 1historian - May 1, 2013 at 12:56 PM

    This current edition of the lakers was assembled to make one last run at the title. When Kobe went down toward the end of the season that became impossible. Even if Kobe comes back he will be only a shadow of what he was. At his best he was one of the best ever but he has to realize that he is over the hill. I was never a fan of Kobe but it’s always a sad thing to watch when a player doesn’t know it’s time to call it quits.

    Solution? Don’t watch.

    The lakers are finished – they are old, injury prone, and it is going to take at least 5 years before they become a factor again, and by then Kobe will be gone as will the rest of them.

    Take 100 star players – the sport doesn’t matter – and out of that 100 maybe 1 will know when it’s time to hang it up. My favorite was Jim Brown, who retired in 1966 at the top of his game.

    He is still the greatest running back in pro football history – no one even comes close.

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