Kobe Bryant says he’s ‘very excited’ about playing with Steve Nash

Kobe Bryant said Friday afternoon he was looking forward to playing with newly-acquired point guard Steve Nash next season and spoke about what the two-time NBA MVP can do for the Lakers’ offense, which bogged down spectacularly at times last season.

Bryant also said during an ESPN interview he hoped Dwight Howard would do what’s best for him as he attempts to get the Orlando Magic to trade him to another team, including possibly the Lakers.

Bryant spoke from Las Vegas where he began workouts with the U.S. Olympic team.

Of playing with Nash, Bryant said:

“I’m very excited. We all know what a phenomenal player he is and how intelligent he is and what he brings to the table with his shooting and playmaking ability. I’m excited. I think the fact we came into the league together in ’96.

“There’s not too many players still going, competing at a high level. You have myself, Nash, Ray Allen, Marcus (Camby) is still competing as well. There’s not many of us left. That bond we’ve had since the ’96 draft kind of supercedes the rivalry we had against Phoenix. …

“He’s going to space the floor. He’s such a phenomenal shooter and then his ability to make plays for others is second to none, really. So we’ll be able to get up and down the floor and, hopefully, get more easy baskets than we have in the past. We won’t have to grind as much as we did in the past in terms of getting good shots in the half court.”

Asked if he wants the Lakers to acquire Howard, Bryant said:

“I want what’s best for him. We’ve kind of established a relationship, with all the guys during the ’08 Olympic team. I want him to do what he feels is best for him and what’s going to make him happy and, hopefully, bring him a great amount of success, individual as well as winning championships.”

Of the lack of size on Team USA because of injuries to Howard and Chris Bosh, Bryant said:

“The teams we will be facing all have a great amount of size. They know how to use their size. They’re very physical. They’re strong in the paint. We’re missing a lot by not having Dwight, not having Chris (Bosh, who also is hurt), not having Lamar (Odom, who declined an invitation to attend training camp).”