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Lakers Will Be As Competitive As Possible In 13-14

The Los Angeles Lakers figure to struggle to even reach the playoffs next season due to the departure of Dwight Howard and the uncertainty of Kobe Bryant's return from a torn Achilles' tendon.

Some have pondered whether the Lakers should focus on 2014 and be in a position to have a high draft pick.

"You know that's not our plan. Our plan was to bring back Dwight Howard and that would have sky-rocketed our payroll," Kupchak said. "That's never a plan here with our fan base, to throw in the towel before the season begins. We always try to win, and that's what we're going to do this year.

"We have challenges. There's no doubt. We don't know when Kobe's coming back, and we don't know what level he's going to come back at, although we're optimistic. Everything's good with Steve [Nash]. Pau [Gasol] should be fine. We've added some athleticism. We're hopefully putting ourselves in position where we can compete in every game."

Via Mike Bresnahan/Los Angeles Times
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