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But not even the Lakers brass -- except maybe his girlfriend, Lakers executive Jeanie Buss -- apparently knows for sure just yet.
"It does improve my chances," Jackson said with a grin when asked about winning another title.
Jackson also knows his championship team will have most of its big pieces back next season. Bryant and Gasol are under contract through 2014 after signing extensions over the last few months, while Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom still have three more years on their deals. Ron Artest also has contract options through 2014 after signing a five-year deal as the only new addition to the Lakers this season.
Starting point guard Derek Fisher is the Lakers' most prominent free agent. While the 35-year-old struggled at times during the regular season, the five-time NBA champion repeatedly delivered big baskets in the postseason.
He also inspired the Lakers with an animated speech when they headed into the fourth quarter facing a four-point deficit in Game 7.
"He's our emotional leader and our verbal leader," Bryant said. "He said, 'Guys, we've got 12 minutes to dig down, get back into this game. Everything that we've worked hard for, we've got 12 minutes to put it back together.' ... That's D-Fish. That's just who he is. There's not enough words of praise that I can use to describe him."
Fisher would make an outstanding backup point guard and reserve sparkplug for the Lakers, but they don't currently have a better choice as a starter. That's the downside of the Lakers' long-term contracts: There's not a tremendous amount of flexibility to add another key component, even in a trade.
Jordan Farmar, Fisher's inconsistent backup, will be a restricted free agent, while improving guard Shannon Brown could opt out of a $2.1 million contract for next season in search of a pay raise.
The Lakers will spend the first weeks of their break from a 105-game season getting rest and rehabilitation -- and surgery for Bynum, who played the last two months with a partially torn ligament in his right knee. Bryant has played with a broken finger, a sore back and an injured knee that was drained of fluid earlier in the playoffs, but isn't anywhere close to full strength.
"It felt good enough to get through the playoffs," Bryant said. "I'm obviously going to have to look at the knee and figure some things out. I can't play a whole entire season the way it is now. Same thing with the finger. You know, without the tape, I can't grip a basketball."
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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