NBA News at YouWager: Kobe Bryant Would Like to Return by 2013-14 Season Opener

Now that Kobe Bryant’s stitches have been removed and he is out of a cast with nearly six weeks of rehabilitation under his belt since surgery to repair a torn Achilles tendon in his left leg he’s still hopeful about returning to play on the 2013-14 season opener of the Los Angeles Lakers.

YouWager bettors consider that even before that day takes place, there will be another important date on the calendar for how this season will develop: July 1, the day Dwight Howard can begin to hear competing offers as a NBA free agent.

It’s been reported that Howard has strong interest in the Houston Rockets and could be courted by the Dallas Mavericks, Atlanta Hawks, Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers, the Black Mamba is in no hurry to be the first to pitch the All-Star center to come back to L.A.

If the 27 year-old Howard ends up just taking a one year job instead of the face of the franchise moving forward, Bryant is confident that Los Angeles, with 16 championships to their credit, will still find a way to thrive.

Bryant has been in touch with Phil Jackson, over what Jackson wrote about the 34 year-old star player in his recent book, “Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success,” in which Jackson agreed with Michael Jordan when comparing the two shooting guards.

Even when Jordan holds the edge in NBA championships (six to Bryant’s five) and career points (32,292 for third all time to Bryant’s 31,617 for fourth all time), according to Bryant he has already done what he set out to achieve when he was drafted into the NBA as a 17-year-old out of high school in 1996.

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