How LA Lakers Can Guarantee Kobe Bryant 1 Last Title Shot Before Retiring

As Kobe Bryant recuperates from an Achilles tear with his illustrious NBA career winding to a close, the Los Angeles Lakers need to be thinking of a plan to guarantee the Black Mamba another shot at a title before he retires.

This will be no easy task.

Last season, the Lakers reloaded around the core of Bryant, Pau Gasol and Metta World Peace by trading for two-time MVP Steve Nash and three-time Defensive Player of the Year Dwight Howard. The results were disastrous.

Mike Brown was fired after an inconceivable 1-4 start. Interim coach Bernie Bickerstaff had some success, leading the Lakers back to .500 with a 4-1 mark, but Mike D’Antoni soon replaced him (not Phil Jackson).

D’Antoni headlined a 40-32 record, which got the Lakers into the playoffs by the slimmest of margins. The San Antonio Spurs promptly swept them out of the first round.

Despite all the talent on paper, the Lakers had no team chemistry, no bench depth, a revolving door at head coach and a slew of key injuries. It will take more than a few tweaks for the Lakers to provide Bryant with another championship run.

As luck would have it, the Lakers only have one contract on the books for the 2014-15 season: Nash at approximately $9.7 million. Instead of spending millions of dollars in luxury taxes, the Lakers will essentially have the opportunity to start a new roster from scratch.

Bryant won’t earn more than $30.4 million, nor will Gasol net more than $19.2 million. Los Angeles will truly have a clean slate in 2014.

So what will the Lakers choose to do with all that cap space? According to Ramona Shelburne and Brian Windhorst of, the Lakers front office plans to target huge stars in 2014. Namely, four-time MVP LeBron James and reigning scoring champion Carmelo Anthony.

This certainly wouldn’t be the first “superteam” we’ve seen in...

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