Lakers News: Kobe Bryant Wise to Prioritize Dwight Howard in Exit Interview

There aren't many fans of the Los Angeles Lakers that are quick to defend Dwight Howard these days. 

That didn't stop Kobe Bryant from making a firm statement about his take on Howard's impending future in Los Angeles, telling reporters during his exit interview on Tuesday that Howard was "very important" to helping the Lakers bounce back from this season's underwhelming performances, injury-riddled experience and first-round playoff sweep at the hands of the San Antonio Spurs.

Although Howard was wildly inconsistent and the lasting memory of his 2012-13 season will be his ejection against the Spurs, there's a huge market for 27-year-old centers who lead the league in rebounding. 

As such, Bryant's politically correct answer toward Howard's place on the team was a wise move, whether or not Howard returns to the team for the 2013-14 season. 

Here's part of what Bryant had to say about his All-Star caliber center on Tuesday (h/t Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times):

I hope he does [return]...I think Los Angeles is the perfect spot for him to assert himself, kind of put his foot down and have his career really take off and be what it should be. There's no greater place for centers to play than here in Los Angeles. I'll talk to him and bring him out to the house, chill with him a little bit, watch another cartoon movie or something. We'll have a good time.

It's never bad to have options, and there isn't a better option at center on the free agent market than D12. 

Bryant might be troubled about his first season with Howard, but even he can't deny that Howard's potential to improve and lead this team in the near future is more important than getting in a jab or being disappointed at the way things turned out. 

Expectations were high when the Lakers managed to engineer a four-team trade that included Howard coming to town, especially considering the team in...

About the Author