May 21, 2013, 11:11 AM EDT
Kobe Bryant thinks this Lakers roster can work.
Well, he at least thinks his chance at a much-coveted sixth ring is more likely if the Lakers bring back two of the top big men in the game, as opposed to having just one and restructuring the lineup to be closer to what Mike D’Antoni prefers.
Howard is an unrestricted free agent this summer and has already said he is frustrated with D’Antoni and is going to take the time to talk to other teams, including the Rockets and Mavericks. Basically, Howard wants a lot more drama around him because he didn’t get enough with the Orlando exit. Apparently.
Gasol is under contract for one more year with the Lakers at $19 million and there have been reports of him being shopped around (again) or amnestied (not likely), although the Lakers will do nothing with Gasol until Howard makes a decision. And we all know how long that can take.
We will see what Howard does, but the buzz around the league is that returning to the Lakers remains the most likely outcome (once he has other teams flatter him and kiss the ring). The Gasol question really comes down to how much tax are the Lakers willing to pay — if the Lakers have a $100 million payroll next season like they did this season their tax under the new escalating system would be another $85 million. While the Lakers are well off with their new cable deal, they are in this to make a profit.
Kobe is right about one thing — it is going to be an interesting off-season in Los Angeles.
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