Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant told 710 ESPN Los Angeles this week that the team needs to re-sign center Dwight Howard, who is set to be a free agent on July 1.
"Those guys are hard to find, they don't grow on trees," Bryant said of Howard. "When you have someone like that with his talent level, you have to be able to keep him and lock him in with this franchise."
Teams including the Atlanta Hawks, Dallas Mavericks, Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Clippers have been rumored as being among the teams that will pursue Howard.
Bryant said the Lakers have to do whatever is possible to retain Howard and that free agents have to make their decision from a business standpoint but also based on where they have the best chance of winning a championship.
"It's hard because a lot of times those two things don't align," he said. "With the history that this franchise has of having great centers, this would, in my opinion, be the perfect spot for him."
Howard was limited last season after coming off back surgery and dealing with a shoulder injury. His was scoring was down at 17.1 points per game but he led the NBA with 12.4 rebounds.
The Lakers made the playoffs as the No. 7 seed and were ousted by the San Antonio Spurs in the first round.