From Mark Heisler, Lakers Nation: For Kobe Bryant’s sins when he was young and impetuous, the gods sent him Dwight Howard. Once Bryant was the prodigy who wanted what he wanted when he wanted it and O’Neal, seven years older, the one who knew which end was up. Now Howard is the prodigy who wants what he wants when he wants it, and Bryant, seven years older, knows which end is up. Not that anyone was ever like Shaq & Kobe, the superstar teammates who weren’t content to feud in private, trading haymakers in the press, as in 2003 when Shaq announced Karl Malone and Gary Payton had come for him, not Kobe… whereupon Kobe had Jim Gray go on TV to call Shaq a fat malingerer who wasn’t really a leader or a friend, much less his surrogate older brother, having failed to call Kobe after that summer’s arrest (other than to leave a message on his machine).
From TheGreatMambino, Silver Screen & Roll: As hot as the criticism got last season on Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol, Steve Nash, former head coach Mike Brown and VP of Player Personnel Jim Buss, no man was under more scrutiny than Mike D’Antoni. The mustachioed skipper had one of the most polarizing years in LA history, being blamed for a weak defense and ineffective rotations, but simultaneously being given a pass because of the rampant roster injuries. Even armed with 2 years and $8 million left on his contract, there’s still questions as to whether or not MDA would be leading the Lakers in November. Will Mike D’Antoni be the head coach for the beginning for the 2013-2014 season?
From Kurt Helin, Pro Basketball Talk: Kobe Bryant certainly hinted more than once he might hang it up after next season. However did you really think a guy that competitive would walk away? Now his Achilles tendon injury oddly makes it more likely he will return. Kobe does not want his final image on the court to be him slowed because of an injury. So he may come back for a season or two after his current contract expires next summer. That’s what he hinted at with Stephen A. Smith on ESPN Radio (as transcribed by Eric Pincus at the Los Angeles Times). The question was about Tim Duncan possibly getting a fifth ring.
From Michael C. Jones, Yahoo Sports: Los Angeles Lakers fans are easy for the rest of the country to hate. It’s not their fault — they are blessed with many enviable circumstances such as living great weather, rooting for a legendary team, watching superstars come and go every year and all of the ancillary things that come with living in the shadow of Hollywood. But in addition to their team consistently competing for titles, they are known for being notoriously late for games, lacking knowledge of the game’s nuances, sitting courtside at games expressionless for the sole purpose of being seen and chanting for two-dollar tacos during close, meaningful games. Why do some behave this way? It’s a question that deserves further exploration, and one prominent TV personality did just that for us all.
From Eric Pincus, LA Times: The offseason for the Lakers will hinge on a single choice by one free agent. Can the Lakers navigate through Dwight Howard’s free agency? “It’s the one decision we have to wait on,” said General Manager Mitch Kupchak. Whatever decision Howard makes will require a leap of faith. The Atlanta Hawks are one of the teams hoping to lure Chris Paul and Howard and the Clippers’ Chris Paul, although a letter to season ticket holders may be considered tampering. Kobe Bryant has been experiencing a taste of retirement as he slowly works his way back from a torn Achilles. On Friday, Bryant suggested he might play another year beyond his current contract.