At Kobe Bryant’s exit interview on Tuesday, Kobe addressed many questions about the future of the Lakers organization. With the inevitability of tough salary cap situations, does Kobe fear big changes next year?
“A little bit. I understand cap situations…all I can do is voice my opinion…but obviously I’m not the one that has to cut the check…so all I can do is give my two cents, and go from there.”
The cap situation that Kobe is talking about is the fact that if the Lakers were to keep the same roster next year that they have this year (which is highly unlikely), they would be roughly $30 million over the tax threshold and would have to cough up about $85 million under the new luxury progressive tax system.
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If Dwight Howard stays with the Lakers, he’ll reportedly be making $118 million over five years. Kobe thinks it’s very important that Dwight Howard stays a Laker next year, so important that he says he will have a talk with Dwight.
“I think it’s very important. I hope he does…It’s really just a matter of what he feels in his heart he wants to do. He’s kind of reached a crossroads for his career. I think Los Angeles is the perfect spot for him to assert himself to 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 and chill with him a little bit”
How much does Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak rely on Kobe Bryant’s persuasion?
“If a guy like Kobe would invite you to his house, and it’s a nice house too, I was there a couple weeks ago, you go, and… [if] a guy like Kobe says, ‘I want you to play on my team,’ I think that’s pretty powerful.”
Dwight Howard reiterated today that he doesn’t want to feel any pressure to make his decision right away. Kupchak explained that although he understands Dwight’s situation, the sooner he makes a decision the better for everybody.
Check out what Kobe said below and head over to our Lakers Nation YouTube Channel for all our Lakers exit interviews.