Snoop Lion cautiously optimistic about Lakers’ future

His favorite teams fell woefully short of his lofty expectations.

Yet, rapper Snoop Dogg (or Lion as he’s now called) strolled down the red carpet outside the Playboy Mansion maintaining his cool and laid-back personality.

The Lakers suffered a first-round sweep to the San Antonio Spurs. Dwight Howard bolted the Lakers for the Houston Rockets. It remains to be seen when Kobe Bryant will return next season from a torn left Achilles tendon.

Can the Lakers bounce back next season to win another NBA title?

“Easy,” Snoop said. “Put the right pieces in place.”

He then added his two cents about how the Lakers’ front office structure should work between president Jeanie Buss and executive Jim Buss five months since their father and late owner Jerry Buss died from a complicated form of cancer.

“Put Jeanie in charge and we’ll be all right,” Snoop said before promptly making his way into the party.

Jeanie expressed optimism last month at a Time Warner Cable Media sponsored event they would follow their father’s will. But Jeanie acknowledged the Lakers’ front office passing up her fiance Phil Jackson for the head-coaching position in favor of Mike D’Antoni strained her relationship with Jim.

But the Lakers have question marks beyond how the structure between the Buss siblings will work.

Namely, how do the Lakers adjust without Howard. Rapper Ice Cubed dissed Howard with an expletive at a recent concert, but Snoop understood Howard’s thought process in joining a younger roster.

“That’s Cube. I ain’t got no hard feelings, man. It’s a business,” said Snoop, who introduced Howard in November when the L.A. City Council celebrated “Dwight Howard Day.” I understand it and I respect it. My emotions sometimes get carried away with the players that we have on our team as opposed to the ones who came and left. I’m more frustrated with the ones that were here that don’t know how to get it right that need to get it right.”

The Lakers have remained limited financially in making significant moves, a product of a bloated payroll in the wake of harsher financial and system restrictions stemmed from the NBA’s recent labor deal. Yet, the Lakers still acquired decent talent in veteran center Chris Kaman at the mini mid-level exception and young talent in former USC product Nick Young and swingman Wesley Johnson at the veteran’s minimum. That influenced the Lakers’ decision to use the amnesty provision on Metta World Peace, a move that saves the Lakers about $15 million in luxury taxes.

Meanwhile, the Lakers will still retain Bryant, Pau Gasol and Steve Nash, three future Hall of Fame players that may or may not stay healthy.

How does this collection of talent bounce back from last season?

“Just have a purpose, have a meaning and a goal,” Snopp said. “They need to get some players here that want to be here and want to win and go for that one goal in getting that championship.”

A large part hinges on how quickly Bryant returns from his torn left Achiles tendon. He has said he may return in November or December, though it’s likely he’ll have to rely more on his fundamentals than his athleticism to stay effective.

“I’m letting him rehab,” Snoop said. “You have to let a man rehab like that. He’s in the zone right now. I want to give him as much space as possible so he can come back as strong as ever and do what he got to do.”

And whether Bryant plays only the final year of his contract or goes beyond it, how will he cap off his career?

“At least another championship,” Snoop said. “Anything else will be uncivilized.”


Dwight Howard said it was tough to play with Kobe Bryant

Metta World Peace reaches deal with New York Knicks

Lakers officially sign Wesley Johnson

Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter. E-mail him at

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  • NR

    Good to know that Snoop is giving Kobe as much space as possible. I was worried that he wasn’t doing that.