Can Kobe Bryant Still Be Lakers’ Best Player for LA to Be Title-Worthy Team?

For as long as he's donned purple and gold in the City of Angels, Kobe Bryant has been the unquestioned leader of the Los Angeles Lakers. 

However, those days may soon be coming to an end. 

Coming off an Achilles injury at the age of 35, Bryant will enter his 18th season in L.A. with speculation surrounding his ability to perform at the All-Star level fans have become accustomed to. 

As we've seen in the past, Bryant's pain threshold is enormous. Doubting his ability to return from such a crippling injury would be foolish. 

But remember, Bryant has been playing at a ridiculously high level for some time now, and as retirement approaches (via the Los Angeles Times), the Black Mamba must indoctrinate the team's next superstar to approach the game the way he has for the last 17 years. He can't do this alone. 

Enter Dwight Howard. 

With July 1 quickly approaching, the Lakers will need to throw the kitchen sink at Howard in an attempt to lure one of the game's most intimidating defensive presences back to Hollywood. 

The good news? Bryant recognizes that his best chance to capture that elusive sixth title is dependent on the Lakers re-signing Howard. 

According to Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times, Bryant recognizes Howard's value to the franchise, which he discussed in an interview with 710 ESPN Los Angeles: 

"Those guys are hard to find, they don't grow on trees. When you have someone like that with his talent level, you have to be able to keep him and lock him in with this franchise."

Howard is expected to talk with other teams, such as the Houston Rockets, Dallas Mavericks, and Atlanta Hawks (among others), before signing a four- or five-year deal.

"I've spoken to him maybe a couple of weeks ago, just to check in with him. I haven't spoken to him since. I know he's g...

About the Author