Ever since the superstar shooting guard went down at the tail end of the regular season, fans in L.A. have been speculating on when Bryant will return and how he will fare upon it.
There’s also the worrisome issue of D12 possibly defecting to another contender as early as July 1, the first day that free agents can ink deals with another franchise.
Let’s take a look at the latest reports on both fronts.
Kobe Bryant Consults David Beckham, Recovery Going Well
The Black Mamba is no stranger to injury, but he’s hardly had to deal with anything as serious as this torn Achilles during his long and decorated 13-year career.
Because of this, Bryant is now reaching out to other athletes who have suffered this same type of injury and asking for advice. He recently spoke with David Beckham, the superstar soccer player who made a full recovery from an Achilles tear back in 2010.
According to Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times, the star guard had this to say about the conversation: "He and I talked for quite a bit about his process, and his recovery. He hasn't had any issues with it since. He's won several championships since the injury, so I'm pretty encouraged by that."
When asked about his recovery, the Mamba sounded positive, telling Pincus: "It's going well. I'm pretty much two months out of surgery, and I'm walking. I can get up on my toes. I'm pleased with how it's going so far."
Bryant revealed that he’s targeting a November or December return in an interview with Mike Trudell of Lakers.com last Wednesday.
On when he'll play, @kobebryant: "I'm shooting for November or December."— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) June 19, 2013
If he can get back to full strength and play at the same level prior to the injury, there’s no question that the Lakers can be considered contenders in 2014. It’ll take a bit of good fortune and some solid free agency acquisitions, but never count L.A. out as long as the Mamba’s around.
Houston Rockets May Maneuver to Acquire Cap Space for Dwight Howard
There hasn’t been much new information regarding Superman’s tight-lipped plans for free agency, but that hasn’t stopped the Rockets from mulling over a recent offer they received.
According to ESPN’s Marc Stein, Houston general manager Daryl Morey has been offered a first-round pick in the upcoming 2013 draft in exchange for Thomas Robinson, the young forward the club acquired at this year’s trading deadline.
Some draft scuttle: Rockets have been offered chance to shed contract of PF Thomas Robinson for first-round pick in next Thursday's draft— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) June 21, 2013
By dumping Robinson and drafting an international player who could be stashed overseas, the Rockets would be able to clear up the cap space required to offer Howard the max contract he will likely be seeking this summer, as per Stein.
ESPN reported in April that Rockets, widely seen as leaders in Dwight Howard chase, planned to shed Robinson so they can offer Dwight max— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) June 21, 2013
Stein noted that Giannis Adetokunbo, Rudy Gobert, Sergey Karasev, Lucas Nogueira and Dennis Schroeder intrigue Houston at this juncture.
I'm no @chadfordinsider, so hope I'm getting these names right. Players on Rockets' radar: Adetokunbo, Gobert, Karasev, Nogueira, Schroeder— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) June 22, 2013
Those are all developmental players who can be kept in their current overseas leagues, which allows the Rockets to avoid paying the guaranteed contract of a first-round selection.
Will Howard take his talents to Houston?
With Chandler Parsons reportedly putting the pressure on Dwight to come to Houston and compete for a championship, it seems that the pieces are all in place for one of the biggest free agency coups since LeBron James took his talents to South Beach.
However, the Lakers still have plenty of time to acquire talent of their own and make an impassioned pitch to the big man to stay and become a legend in one of the biggest markets.
Who says the NBA offseason is boring?