Kobe Bryant in favor of Lakers' acquiring Gilbert Arenas
Amid all the Lakers' personnel changes, Kobe Bryant maintained the team's current makeup would be good enough to win a championship.
But after the Lakers stumbled to a 3-3 record on their six-game trip, leaving their record at 16-12, it's clear Bryant feels the need to publicly advocate the team bring in free-agent guard Gilbert Arenas.
"It surely wouldn't hurt," Bryant said Monday after practice at the Lakers' facility in El Segundo. "That's for sure."
After Orlando acquired him from Washington 24 games into last season, Arenas averaged only eight points on 34.4% shooting in 49 games, a steep drop from his career averages of 21.2 points per game and 42.1% shooting. He'd averaged 17.3 ppg in 21 games with the Wizards before the trade.
There's also the cloud regarding his suspension for most of the 2009-10 season for his involvement with then-Wizards teammate Javaris Crittenton in a locker-room dispute in which handguns were present.
"Everybody makes mistakes," Bryant said. "He'll be fine."
Bryant remains the lone Laker to publicly endorse acquiring Arenas, whom the Magic waived in December under the new "amnesty" provision.
Coach Mike Brown said he hadn't even talked to Kupchak about Arenas' workout, a claim that's hardly believable.
"If somebody can help us, then I'm open to that," Brown said. "I can't say whether or not he can help us. I haven't seen or talked to him and people who have seen him."
Lakers guard Derek Fisher hardly sounded thrilled to discuss the notion that the Lakers need backcourt help partly because of his meager contributions (5.1 points, 35.4% shooting).
"We're focused on the guys we have in our locker room," Fisher said. "We know there are certain things that are part of our business, but we deal with it as we go. For now, we're trying to build the chemistry and cohesiveness we need on the team to go out and win."
Forward Pau Gasol paused for 14 seconds when asked about the Lakers' personnel needs before rattling off cliches about his belief that they can win a championship with the current roster.
"We just need to play better," Gasol said. "We don't need a particular player. As a team and a player, your mind-set is to work with what you have. We have enough talent here to be able to play better and more consistent. Having said that, I don't know what we need. You tell me."
Bryant would say the Lakers need "Hibachi," a nickname Arenas gave himself to describe a hot shooting performance (the reference is to a small Japanese barbecue). For now, that metaphor hardly applies to the Lakers. Unless, of course, they make a change.
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