The idea was pretty sound, based on a tried-and-true NBA concept. Veteran teams win titles. There's a reason Chris Paul wants Kevin Garnett, why LeBron James wanted Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, why the Knicks' bench was basically middle-aged. Veteran experience is a proven asset in big playoff games.
But there's a cost, and sometimes that's energy, effort and ability. The Lakers found that out the hard way this season when a litany of injuries to their star players left them relying on a bench that was old and ineffective. In an interview with ESPN Brazil, transcribed by the LA Times, Kobe Bryant said the team needs to get younger.
"It's a big summer for us. We don't know what direction we're going yet but one thing I know about the Laker organization is that they're very committed to making sure that we have a team that's on the floor that's a competitive team to win a championship," said Bryant. "Which direction that's going to be, whether it's with Dwight or not? I don't know. We'll just have to see."
If Howard returns and with the addition of some youth, length and defensive ability on the perimeter, Bryant is confident the Lakers can compete next year.
"We need a couple of younger legs, long guys that can defend and can cover the floor on the perimeter," he said. "If we do that, I think we'll be all right."
But the Lakers don't have a first-round draft pick, sent to Cleveland via trade. They don't have any cap room on account of the ZOMG-superstar approach, including Bryant's $30 million. How exactly are they going to get younger? The idea is "the Lakers just seem to." But there must be a point where reality gets tougher. This might be it. Still, it's interesting to see a veteran guy like Bryant talk about needing to get younger.