Lakers form new version of dream team

Associated Press

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Shaq, Kobe, The Glove and The Mailman on the Lakers.

Start engraving the NBA championship trophy?

The Lakers' superstar count may double for next season: With Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant already in house, they're set to sign Gary Payton, nicknamed "The Glove." Karl Malone, "The Mailman," may not be far behind.

While O'Neal and Bryant already have three rings, that's a bauble that's missing from the otherwise sparkling careersof Payton and Malone. Payton turns 35 later this month, and Malone 40.


"It is the Lakers' intention to enter into a contract with Gary Payton once the moratorium period ends," team general manager Mitch Kupchak said Tuesday in a statement. "Due to NBA rules regarding free agency, I am unable to further comment at this time."

Payton and other free agents are not allowed to sign contracts until July 16.

Malone reportedly has said he'd be willing to take the veteran's minimum salary -- $1.4 million -- with the Lakers in order to have a chance to win his first NBA title.

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