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Krystkowiak Achieves Longtime Hope

Larry Krystkowiak hadn’t played anything more than an occasional pickup game with friends since last season--and that was in France. He hasn’t made an NBA appearance since March 30, 1995, a streak that remained intact Tuesday as he dressed for the first time as a Laker but did not play in the loss at Houston. He has done far more running than dribbling the last several months, about 30 miles a week with his new wife, a marathoner.

“But I shouldn’t take a whole lot of polish,” he said. “It’s not like a high-skilled player trying to come back.”

It’s not like the Lakers need him to be. Krystkowiak, 32, is 6 foot 9 and 240 pounds of effort for practices, not for the lineup to replace Robert Horry or Shaquille O’Neal. He’ll rebound, set screens, battle inside on defense--but he won’t play much in games.

For the first time in a career that began in 1986, a journey that has taken him to six NBA teams now and two countries in Europe, not to mention two stints with Coach Del Harris, he is on a 10-day contract. He had turned down opportunities to play overseas in hopes that another chance would come in the United State, waiting mostly in his native Montana for the call.

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That it came from the Lakers, where Harris runs a lot of the same plays as during their four years together in Milwaukee, makes it all the better.

“It was actually something I was hoping for in the back of my mind,” Krystkowiak said. “It’s something that I wanted to happen a lot. My wife wanted it a lot. I’m happy to be back.”


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