How Kobe Bryant Must Sell Los Angeles Lakers’ Long-Term Future to Dwight Howard

If Kobe Bryant were in Mitch Kupchak's shoes, he'd have to do much more than just pick which kinds of players he wants to populate the Los Angeles Lakers' roster and crunch the numbers accordingly. So much of being a general manager in the NBA is about the ABCs of Salesmanship—Always Be Closing.

It's no wonder, then, that Kobe wants the Lakers to be the last ones to make their pitch to Dwight Howard before the All-Star center rules on his own free agency this summer, as he told Dave McMenamin of ESPN Los Angeles:

For me, you kind of let him do his due diligence and then move in and talk to him and figure out if this is a place he wants to be. We all want him here. But then that's when the selling begins [after Howard is courted by other teams]. You don't start the selling process right before he goes and does all this stuff. You want to get the last word. You want to have the final word and the closing argument.

I'll give him a little opening statement, but then I have to make sure I have the final word.

Bryant, though, doesn't seem overly concerned by the possibility of Howard's departure because, like anyone with a good mind for personnel decisions (particularly one in charge of the Purple and Gold), he understands that there will always be opportunities to lure big names to LA down the road:

This franchise is a franchise that you really don't have to worry about too much, because no matter what happens, whether it's a year from now, two years from now, whatever the case may be, they're always going to find a way to have an impact on this league.

Of course, a line like that isn't going to entice Dwight to stay. He doesn't want to be told that he's replaceable, that there are plenty of fish in the sea and, therefore, that he's welcome to swim off to wherever he pleases. In all likelihood, Howard will be expecting a supercharged rendition of the fawning and pampering with whi...

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