Friday Forum

Dave Murphy —  October 19, 2012

Mike Brown went into last year’s lockout-shortened season with little in the way of training camp and a team that was to put it mildly, evolving. Similarly, he’s entering his second season with another crop of new faces – some are stars, some are journeymen and some are just starting their NBA journeys. The longtime face of the franchise of course is Kobe Bryant and while he brings a sense of stability and purpose in the present, there is still the expectation of change. Bryant has hinted at his retirement when his present contract runs out and recent talk has been as much about free agent possibilities in 2014 as it is about a run for the ring this year. As for the right here, right now – all eyes are on Dwight Howard who may be eying Sunday for his long-awaited return to game action.

Ramona Shelburne for ESPN GO also looks at Dwight Howard’s state of readiness, and the butterflies that he anticipates for his Lakers debut.

Brian Kamenetzky for ESPN’s Lakers Report, writes about how improving fundamentals improves Howard’s health.

Also on the subject of improving health, Yahoo Sports via the AP, reports on Jordan Hill’s return to practice.

Eric Pincus kicks off his new gig at the LATimes, Lakers Now blog.

Kevin Ding of the OC Register talks with Lakers executive vice president Jim Buss about the 2014 season and cap room for a major free agent signing.

Actuarially Sound for Silver Screen and Roll, wonders if we’ll witness history being made this season

Suki Thind at Lakers Nation reports on Kobe Bryant’s mission to help those in need, including a fundraising walk.

Curtis Harris at Pro Hoops History remembers Minneapolis Laker great Slater Martin who passed away yesterday at the age of 86.

There were some recent reports about NBA referee Greg Willard and his battle with cancer. Nobody has written about it more poignantly in my opinion, then Elliott Teaford for Inside the Lakers.

While much is expected from this year’s Lakers, there is no certainty in sports or in life. Only that it is ever changing and that the end date often feels too soon. The beauty of the yearly draft is that we’re continually treated to new faces and sometimes, new legends in the making. Still, for the constant influx there are also the constant exits, though often delayed, drawn out and sometimes hard to watch. I have no real evidence to back this up but I don’t suspect that Kobe Bryant will play out the long slide. I think he’ll be here and relevant one season and gone the next. There will be time for goodbyes of course and the time isn’t yet. Tonight he suits up for preseason game number five, against the Sacramento Kings in Las Vegas.

- Dave Murphy

Dave Murphy

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16 responses to Friday Forum

  1. I will believe Kobe Bryant’s “retirement” palaver if he says it again next summer AFTER Dwight Howard is sufficiently convinced so as to ink his new contract with the Lakers.

  2. Kobe is going to play at least 20 total years. This year and next complete his current contract, then we must get an extension. He is not going to quit until he is the GOAT or he has nothing left in the tank. As Laker Nation reported above, Kobe has a mission to help those in need. The Laker organization, the fans, and the league in general are in need, and Kobe is indeed on a mission.

  3. Whoa Darius made his ProBasketballTalk debut very quietly. Kudos on the first couple posts. And great reads as always, Dave.

  4. @1: Exactly. If all the stars align this season and the team exceeds even our loftiest expectations, goes 68-14, sweeps the playoffs and wins the title, then Howard re-ups for a long-term deal, I have a really, really hard time Kobe would then say “All right, next year’s my last year.” It’s a thousand percent likelier he’d go to the public, his teammates, and the front office and say “I’m in. Let’s reload and get some more.”

    On the flip side, I don’t want to see a one-legged Kobe still hopping around in 2017, trying to score those last 500 points to pass Kareem (and/or 40k points) and tanking the team’s hopes.

    In the best of all worlds, they go the distance this year or next–perhaps winning 2 out of the next 3 like the 08-10 run–and then he re-signs on one-year cheap deals (to save cap space for free agents/trades) until he can’t contribute at the level he wants to. I think the old man has three top-quality years left, and one or two 26-minutes 20/4/4 type seasons after that.

  5. I’d love to see Kobe get at least one more title (maybe two) over the next two years. Then he can call it a career. I don’t want to see a 37 year old Kobe getting taken to the rim every night by younger players.

    I’d love to see Kobe win a title that final season. Tell his career-long detractors where to go, and then ride off into the sunset with six or seven titles. I’d want to see him old and beat down like Hakeem was in Toronto or like Chuck was in Houston.

  6. The last post should read:

    “I DON’T want to see him old and beat down…”

  7. Pau and Kobe should retire the same year so they can go in the hall together. If the Lakers win 1 of the next 2 and he gets 6 he should be content with that. How KG and Duncan just resigned for 3 more years I don’t see Kobe doing that. Maybe him and Pau sign on for 1 yr deals but I honestly believe Kobe when he says he wants to go out a semi-elite player.

  8. Better for Kobe to burn out than fade away.

  9. I seem to be in a minority with this position, but I sincerely think Kobe will make a strong run at KAJ’s all-time points record and, as a result, will stay in the league for some time yet, diminished skills or not, role player or not, perhaps even bad-shot-jacker or not.

    He’s 8903 behind, which is a hair less than 4.5 years of 80 games at 25PPG… or, using a full 82 game model), 21.7 PPG over the next 5 years. Would he really quit if he’s 2 seasons away from all-time greatness? Maybe, if he really sees himself solely in competition with MJ/other guards, but he seems to me (for better AND worse) to enjoy seeing his name at the top of lists, and this is the biggest list there is. (And I don’t buy the argument that last year’s scoring race is an argument to the contrary…)

  10. Kobe won’t break Kareem’s record. But that’s okay. He’s given us a great 17 yrs, and he’s been playing at an elite level since he was 22 yrs old–that’s 12 straight seasons playing at the same level ( not even MJ could say that). Unlike those other stars, Kobe’s got the chance to go out on top at the elite level. If we win the title this yr I’d like to see kobe retire personally. Still elite, Wo skills completely diminished and athleticism gone and most of all as a champ. I saw his first game ever when he was 17 live and ill def be there for his last game. Honor to watch him play.

  11. Since entering the league, KB has had one goal. To be the GOAT. He will not quit until he achieved that, or is physically unable to pursue it. His physical conditioning suggest he has several years left. After that, if he is close to KAJ – he will go for it. 7 titles, leading scorer of all time, and GOAT. It is probably written on the walls of his house.

  12. Please stop obsessing about Lebrong and answer one CRITICAL question I have:

    I have Direct TV and I know I can’t see any preseason games. But, does this mean I will not see any non-TBS or NBC Laker games (i.e. the games that I could see on KCAL and Prime Ticket)?

  13. The realization that I’m not going to be able to watch as many games in the “Dwight Howard Era” is starting to sink painfully in. No way do I get a cable package just to get the Lakers.

    Maybe, I’ll wind up watching funky Rumanian feeds and the like….

  14. Only non Time Warner games are national TV games. Word is they will settle dish deal by November 1st.

    Lakers by 12 tonight. Guaranteed!

  15. Roberts will get minutes tonight in 1st half. Looking forward to that.