Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers will need to revamp for next year after seeing what their closest rivals in the Western Conference were about to accomplish — 28 seconds away from a fifth NBA championship.
Bryant, currently at five titles, clearly stated that he wants one more before he retires. Tim Duncan, his closet rival of this era, was stopped short (literally, missing a potential game-tying hook two feet from the basket) and unless they reload the roster for next year, I don’t see them repeating.
Bryant and the Lakers will need to acquire some younger players on their roster via the draft or free agency. Mitch Kupchak will need to decide how the Lakers can improve next year, especially if Dwight Howard walks.
There is a growing number of Lakers followers who want Howard to deal his way out of Hollywood — this would allow the Lakers to have more cap space to sign player who actually wants to put on the purple and gold every night. Sign-and-trades can also be difficult because it requires at least one team to compromise something.
The Lakers need to do something different — re-signing the same team won’t help because their players will still be one year older and slow. Remember what happened to the New York Knicks this year? After a hot start, the Knicks literally disintegrated down the stretch. Kurt Thomas was released, Rasheed Wallace abruptly retired and Jason Kidd ran completely out of gas.
Personally, I think the best course of action for the 2013-2014 Lakers would be to let go of Howard. He’s not worth the headache and giving him control of the franchise would be completely foolish.
I’d rather have a rebuilding season and hope Kobe can give you one or two more solid years than to put up with a often fickle Dwight Howard for another five years or more.