Mamba wants “one more year” with current roster to prove they can win.
Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant says the current roster should be given one more year to prove the critics wrong and bring success back to the Staples Center.
It was a disappointing season for the Lakers, who were ravaged by injuries during the playoffs and fell to a series sweep against the San Antonio Spurs in the opening round.
Bryant will continue his rehabilitation from a ruptured Achilles tendon through the off-season, while the likes of Steve Nash and Steve Blake will hope to return to full fitness ready for a big year next season.
Question marks remain over the future of Dwight Howard who becomes a free agent on July 1, while Pau Gasol is rumoured to be set to leave this summer.
However, Bryant believes that the current core should be given one more year to prove that they have what it takes, and is confident they are capable of winning a championship.
“It’s a tough call to make. But then again, it is one more year. One more year. That’s how I look at it. One more year of this thing,” he told the media at his season exit interview according to ESPN.
“We know what we need to do. We know what that rhythm feels like. To break that apart and now have to start fresh wouldn’t make sense. We can win a championship, no doubt about it,” he added.
Bryant went on to suggest that it would be a “headache” to break up the current set-up, and believes that prior to the injuries hitting the Lakers hard, the core were beginning to click. His statement is backed up by results, as the Lakers went on a 28-12 run at the end of the season to secure their playoff berth.
The Mamba ended his interview stating that he had told Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak that he wants Gasol to stay, and believes the Spaniard will be vital to their chances of winning a championship.
As for Howard, who he reportedly had run-ins with during the season, Bryant had a clear message for the former Orlando Magic big man: “If I was him, I’d re-sign”.