Dwight Is Franchise Star Lakers Need to Usher in Post Kobe Bryant Era

The Los Angeles Lakers are poised for at least two more championship runs with Kobe Bryant at the helm, but Dwight Howard is the franchise star who could usher in the post-Bryant era in Lakerland to ensure this team stays competitive when Bryant’s time in the NBA comes to a close.

According to an article in the Los Angeles Times, Bryant’s retirement could come sooner rather than later. Bryant, who has two years and more than $58 million remaining on his current contract said of a possible retirement at age 35, “It'll be the last year of my contract. I don't know if I will play any longer than that. I don't know. […] It could happen.”

A lot can happen in two years' time, but it would certainly be head-scratching if Bryant chose to walk away from the game at just 35 years old.

Steve Nash is still playing at an extremely high level at 38 years old, and Kevin Garnett signed a three-year contract this summer to remain with the Boston Celtics as a 36-year-old. It would be odd to watch Bryant retire if he could still play at a high level, but he’s said himself that it’s a possibility he’ll have to consider.

As if that isn’t enough of a hint that Bryant may choose to walk away from the game before a diminishing skill set forces him out, Kurt Helin of NBC Sports referenced an interview between Bryant and ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith in which Bryant said, “You think I’d hang around and average 18, 19 points? Hell no.”

Bryant is a competitor, plain and simple. If age prevents him from playing up to his lofty standards, walking away may be the best decision he can make (as long as an ugly comeback years later doesn’t taint how people remember him).

The Kobe Bryant era in Los Angeles is clearly approaching its final chapters. Adding Dwight Howard would create for a smooth transition after Bryant leaves, as far as creat...

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