Originally posted on BlackSportsOnline  |  Last updated 7/11/13
Kobe Bryant is a giant in the NBA. For however long he plays he will be the face of the Los Angeles Lakers and in Kobe’s mind the undisputed leader of the team. I don’t think Dwight Howard is a good leader, but in his mind he wanted the Kobe era to be over, so he become the face of the franchise. He knew that probably wouldn’t happen in LA unless Kobe was gone, so that is what he asked the Lakers to do. Howard at one point asked the Lakers whether they were at least considering releasing Bryant through the league’s amnesty provision, since Bryant’s return date from Achilles tendon surgery remained in question. ESPN The Magazine’s Chris Broussard reported last month that Howard and Chris Paul had discussions before free agency about trying to land with the same team. Howard and Paul had interest in playing together in Los Angeles, with either the Lakers or the Clippers, or with the Atlanta Hawks, sources said. Releasing Bryant via the amnesty provision and shopping Pau Gasol and Steve Nash to teams with salary-cap space would have allowed the Lakers to try to recruit Paul in free agency. But the Lakers, sources said, made it clear the prospect of releasing Bryant or simply trying to lay out a finite timetable on the end of his career with the franchise was not under consideration, believing those decisions should and would be made by Bryant. I wonder if the Lakers got assurances from Paul and Howard they would sign with the franchise, they would have considered the amnesty provision on Bryant. The Lakers are gambling that Bryant can come back healthy and they can surround him with enough parts that would allow him to compete for a 6th championship before he retires. It is a big gamble, we can only sit back and see how it works out.
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