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Kobe Bryant wants Dwight Howard back in Los Angeles with the Lakers next season. Even though Howard struggled at times last year, the Black Mamba still wants him in his corner. So he's planning on talking to Howard this summer when he becomes a free agent.

"For me, you kind of let him do his due diligence and then move in and talk to him and figure out if this is a place he wants to be," Bryant told ESPN Los Angeles during an interview yesterday. "We all want him here. But then that's when the selling begins [after Howard is courted by other teams]. You don't start the selling process right before he goes and does all this stuff. You want to get the last word. You want to have the final word and the closing argument. I'll give him a little opening statement, but then I have to make sure I have the final word."

That said, even if Howard doesn't re-sign with the Lakers, KB24 doesn't sound worried. He still thinks the team will be better than they were this season.

"This franchise is a franchise that you really don't have to worry about too much," he said, "because no matter what happens, whether it's a year from now, two years from now, whatever the case may be, they're always going to find a way to have an impact on this league."

Having Howard would definitely help with that impact next season. So it'll be interesting to see what Kobe will say and/or do to try and get him to stay.

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[via ESPN Los Angeles]