LOS ANGELES – Kobe Bryant's health is just one issue for the Los Angeles Lakers as they begin a season of transition.
The 16-time NBA champions are nobody's pick for a title, even with a roster featuring three likely Hall of Fame players. Pau Gasol and Steve Nash will attempt to hold the team together until Bryant is back to something close to full strength on his surgically repaired Achilles tendon.
Dwight Howard's decision to take less money to sign with Houston last July put the Lakers' short-term future into flux. Yet it also freed the Lakers, who have almost nobody under a contract longer than one season.
But coach Mike D'Antoni isn't thinking about next year. He's hoping the Lakers' new roster is more suited to his style of play.