Although Bryant expressed his faith in Kupchak, he would prefer to have Odom in camp as the Lakers regroup from last season's failed attempt at a threepeat. Odom starred in a reality show last season with his wife, Khloe Kardashian, clearly enjoying his celebrity at the main intersection of sports and entertainment.
"You're talking about the sixth man of the year last year," Bryant said of Odom. "He played lights-out. I don't understand the criticism of reality shows and this. I don't get that. He had his best season last year, clearly wasn't a distraction, played his (rear) off. I don't get where that comes from."
Even Odom's contract is a good deal for his new employers: He will make $8.9 million this season in the third year of a four-year deal, which can be bought out next season for a modest amount. The Lakers' trade exception means they can acquire a player making Odom's salary or less without the usual complications, but it would be only one part of a hypothetical deal for Howard or another star.
With this chaos on top of the usual amount of drama surrounding the high-profile Lakers, Brown is attempting to plan for a season with no idea who will be in his lineup in two weeks when Los Angeles hosts the Chicago Bulls in their Christmas season opener. Gasol and fellow big man Andrew Bynum went through their third day of workouts on Sunday not knowing whether they would have a chance to use all this new information.
Lakers forward Matt Barnes has been in contact with Howard, his former teammate in Orlando. Barnes said he doesn't need to sell Howard on the Lakers — but this team now might have to sell its own players on their future in purple and gold.
"If I'm here, I'm looking forward to the season," said Bynum, who knows he's rumored to be the main component in any proposed deal for Howard. "If they were able to pull a move like that off, it would be great for the organization, and I'd be in Orlando hooping."
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