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      02-01-2008, 08:56 PM   #38
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"It shows a great deal of commitment from the organization,'' All-Star Kobe Bryant said before the Lakers' game at Toronto. "It's a great step.

"It's a matter of us just gelling now and putting it together,'' added Bryant, who urged management to improve the team over the summer. "We've got a great bench. We have a lot of length, a lot of versatility. Now it's time to walk the walk.''

"We need a little scoring inside without Andrew Bynum,'' coach Phil Jackson said. "It gives us a post-up threat right now, and he's a good passer. We like that.''

"I've played with him in several All-Star games,'' Bryant said. "He's extremely versatile, he has a high basketball IQ. He can pass, shoot, has length, can catch and finish. He's extremely talented.

"I have to take my hat off to (owner Jerry) Buss and Mitch for going forward with this,'' Bryant said. "Now it's up to us to go out there and work hard.''

Odom said he feels "the sky is the limit'' for the new-look Lakers.

"We felt like we could compete for a championship with the team we had,'' Odom said. "With this addition, hopefully that dream comes true.''

"Javaris was like a little brother to me,'' Bryant said. "I tried to mentor him as much as I could. Kwame, he's been through a lot of ups and downs but he has a great heart.''


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