Magic Johnson Wants Kobe, Gasol and Bynum to Step-Up

The Los Angeles Lakers lost their first pre-season game to cross town rival Clippers, and some people are beginning to say that the throne to L.A. is changing positions. Nevertheless, last night’s game was an exhibition and until the Clippers get more playoff wins and titles than the Lakers, L.A. will still be a Laker city.

Laker great Magic Johnson still worries about the Lakers and wants the stars to carry the team this season. Johnson says Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum must have stellar seasons for the Lakers to go deep in the playoffs, writes Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Times.

“What Kobe has to look to now is look to get Bynum and Gasol going,” Johnson said Tuesday in a conference call with reporters. “He’s going to need help, especially this season more than any season for them to be really one of the best teams win a championship. Those two guys have got to have banner years.”

Kobe Bryant will always be ready for the season, but he needs help from his teammates if the Lakers want to win their 17th NBA championship in franchise history.

Gasol and Bynum did not perform well in the 2011 playoffs, and thus the Lakers were swept out of the second round by the Dallas Mavericks. Kobe cannot single handily win a title, a single player can win games, but never four playoff series.

This is why I feel the Lakers should package Bynum and Gasol for Dwight Howard now.  Kobe has already commented on “when he retires”.  When, we don’t know for sure.  That is why management should look to Howard to build around for the future.  Bynum has come a long way but still has not lived up to expectations.  Gasol has heart and determination, that’s what will make him a valuable trading piece.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad there will be basketball this year but this shortened season is a write-off.  The Lakers will never get this good of an opportunity for a superstar center again.  Howard will sign a long-term deal and Mitch Kupchak needs to ensure it’s with the Lakers.  Period.

  • Kobe is trying to do something that neither Jordan or Pippen did and that is win a championship without Phil Jackson.  I don’t think Magic is off base because what he’s saying is so obvious: Gasol and Bynum have to play well.  Gasol needs to re-establish himself as a premiere power forward and Bynum needs to put together a whole season not just the spurts that he’s shown.  I disagree with the assessment that Bynum didn’t play well in the playoffs.  After Kobe, I thought that he was the next best player.  Lakers still own L.A. and Chris Paul may have changed the culture, but he can’t change Donald Sterling who has managed to find a way to keep the Clippers being the “little brother”. 

  • Well said. Well said. I’ve already been asking myself as to when Bynum is going to be a Star Center. He was only showing spurts when in fact he should put up a show for one whole season, especially the one this year when he’s needed the most. But I most definitely agree to Bynum going away for Howard. Bynum didn’t become the player people expected him to be. Howard is definitely better. As for Gasol, he can still stay with the Lakers and help Howard and Bryant, that is, if Orlando Magic wants Bynum alone. Bynum was better than Gasol this past season, but Gasol still is the better overall player than Bynum. If Orlando Magic is trading Howard for Bynum, I suggest they take Matt Barnes and Metta World Peace with him, and eye James Posey (wherever he is). Lakers should also eye “The Birdman” of the Nuggets and Anderson Varejao of the Cavaliers to help Howard and Bryant, and if possible, Gasol. Matt Barnes, Steve Blake, and Metta World Peace are not valuable anymore. Try and take Ariza again, for Metta World Peace.

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