If Kobe Bryant were in Mitch Kupchak's shoes, he'd have to do much more than just pick which kinds of players he wants to populate the Los Angeles Lakers' roster and crunch the numbers accordingly. So much of being a general manager in the NBA is about the ABCs of Salesmanship—Always Be Closing.
It's no wonder, then, that Kobe wants the Lakers to be the last ones to make their pitch to Dwight Howard before the All-Star center rules on his own free agency this summer, as he told Dave McMenamin of ESPN Los Angeles:
Bryant, though, doesn't seem overly concerned by the possibility of Howard's departure because, like anyone with a good mind for personnel decisions (particularly one in charge of the Purple and Gold), he understands that there will always be opportunities to lure big names to LA down the road:
Of course, a line like that isn't going to entice Dwight to stay. He doesn't want to be told that he's replaceable, that there are plenty of fish in the sea and, therefore, that he's welcome to swim off to wherever he pleases. In all likelihood, Howard will be expecting a supercharged rendition of the fawning and pampering with which any elite high school athlete would be welcomed on his recruiting trips.