Kobe Bryant backs Gilbert Arenas
Los Angeles Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak held a private workout over the weekend for free agent guard Gilbert Arenas while the team was on the tail end of a six-game road trip, multiple sources told ESPNLosAngeles.com's Dave McMenamin on Sunday. While no signing is imminent, according to the sources, the 10-year veteran would be welcomed by star guard Kobe Bryant.
"Sure," responded Bryant during Tuesday's practice in El Segundo when asked if he was in favor of bringing in Arenas. "It certainly wouldn't hurt, that's for sure."
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The Los Angeles native and Grant High School standout boasts a 21.2 ppg career scoring average, but hasn't played more than 70 games since the 2006-2007 season, when he was considered one of the NBA's best players. A former three-time All-Star, Arenas, 30, last played with the Orlando Magic after a mid-season trade, where he averaged just 8.4 points on 34.4 percent shooting in 49 games. The guard has experienced recurring left knee problems requiring multiple surgeries, but recently underwent PRP-treatment similar to that of Bryant this offseason in Germany. The procedure took place on both knees as well as both hips.
Arenas was also suspended, along with former Lakers guard Javaris Crittenton, for 50 games during the 2010 season after an incident involving guns in the locker room while Washington Wizards teammates. Arenas' character has been questioned on several occasions throughout his career, but Bryant expressed no concern about off-court problems resurfacing.
"Everybody makes mistakes," insisted Bryant. "He'll be fine."
Asked the need potentially supplied by Arenas, Bryant smiled and replied "Hibachi," a reference to what Arenas used to call out after made baskets while on a hot shooting streak.
"I have not seen him work out," explained head coach Mike Brown. "I have not spoken to him ... I still have not talked to Mitch about it, either. If somebody can help us, then I'm open to that, but I can't say whether or not he can help us because I haven't seen or talked to him, nor talked to anybody that has seen him."
"Obviously, whoever they decide to bring in to help, that's (the front office's) decision," noted forward Pau Gasol. "But if we could have a talented player that can help us and be effective and make a difference, we'll be happy."
That said, Gasol expressed confidence in the team's ability to win a championship as currently constructed.
"I think we do (have enough talent). We have three All-Star caliber players. We have great backups. We have experienced players. We have some youth. We have some rookies that give us some youth and some speed. So now it's up to us to really come out and play and deliver."
Andrew Kamenetzky covers the Lakers for ESPNLosAngeles.com.