Did we ever think the league’s version of golden treasure would be completely unattractive? The franchise most young kids grow up dreaming they’re a part of — Kobe’s Los Angeles Lakers — are trying to re-establish stability.
Around that same juncture, we had the questionable Jim Buss take over the reigns of team ownership and management, since Dr. Jerry Buss’s health didn’t hold up and allow him to oversee things. That alone, is probably what sent this train completely into the forest.
Brown wasn’t even a vile option for this organization, it’s just that he couldn’t handle the larger than life expectations. Dwight Howard, apparently, brings these expectations. In this league, there is no “wiggle room.” There isn’t any “time to get comfortable.”
The 2012-13 Lakers were encouraged to win immediately after the season started, and that wasn’t possible. People had to get adjusted to this Princeton offense style of play, and of course dealing with the Steve Nash hospital visits didn’t help the cause.
There’s one common denominator in all of the vomit.
Kobe Bryant, that guy entering his 19th season as a professional, doesn’t want to put up with mediocrity any longer.
Mike D’Antoni, in everyone’s mind, brought less than mediocrity. The Lakers pulled a Chris Bosh in November 2012, turning away from the more attractive choice, in order to select the most unpopular destination at the time.
When LeBron bolted back home, the offer was on the table for Bosh to take Houston’s four-year max deal and be on a championship level team. Instead, he spurned everyone and took Pat Riley‘s offer to remain in Miami. Perhaps Bosh’s decision wasn’t the one that seemed egregious …. maybe it was Riley’s $118 million offer, since Bosh isn’t worth close to that. But, I digress.
D’Antoni was chosen over an 11-time champion, and that cost them in the long run more than some realize.
When Jackson was called in the middle of the night and told they were signing a coach that’s never been to the NBA Finals, it ended any future possibility of the Zen Master coming back to the Lakers. If you was publicly dismissed and embarrassed in that nature, would you ever return?
The love circle with Jackson and his fiancé’s family is the only string he would have attached to the purple and gold now. Jackson and the Lakers’ relationship is tarnished, and that’s entirely because Jerry — the head honcho — isn’t around anymore.
When Dr. Buss passed, the Lakers’ reputation, sense of attractiveness, and championship window all died as well.
Seriously, now you can’t sit there and tell me people are dying to play in Hollywood.
As incredibly satisfying the weather, stardom, and lifestyle may be, it’s not the first-class destination anymore. Carmelo Anthony walked back to who? Phil Jackson. There are $122 million reasons why he did so, but if playing with Kobe and giving wife La La a career opportunity in Los Angeles isn’t over-the-top, nothing would’ve been. The dirty German, Dirk Nowitzki, looked the Lakers right in the face and rejected a max offer.
I’m sure that one hurt slightly more than Carmelo’s rejection.
Dirk has been adamant about finishing his career where it started, but we’re talking about a salary nearly three times what he received in Dallas. Cuban persuaded him to take less — $8.3 million — in order to give Dallas the flexibility to form a threat in the Western Conference. It doesn’t necessarily take a “super team” that Miami created in the East, but it does take star power mixed with bringing in guys that want to be great teammates. The Spurs didn’t just win the 2014 title by drawing in a top shooting guard and the best center in basketball (Houston). We saw how far that got Daryl Morey.
One thing has to happen for this to even be answered in a positive manner. There has to be a foundation, and promised stability.
The coaching search this summer needs to provide that.
Buss and Mitch Kupchak have already taken long enough in the selection process. The idea of the new players being intact before a coaching decision is made is quite absurd. In addition, so is the notion that Carmelo or LeBron was going to be amazed by the fact that they could select their own coach if they agreed to become Lakers.
Does management not believe in asking the coach what type of free agents fit their system, and style of play? Byron Scott, who will indeed get the job for the Lakers’ head coaching slot in the near future, has to be irritated that management is focused on bringing guys in that may or may not fit what he loves to run. And, in all reality, they’re not even bringing in talent that tops the market.
Carlos Boozer wasn’t going to be a scorching hot attraction when he hit amnesty waivers, and trading for Jeremy Lin appears to be just a one-year rental. There was no strong push for Lance Stephenson or Greg Monroe — two better options than what they’ve been able to lure.
In order for this franchise to rise from the grave and actually catch the eye of marquee guys in the coming summers, there can’t be uncertainty about coaching.
Scott, who has already been interviewed for a third time by the Lakers, would be the smartest move the team has made in two years. This hiring wouldn’t be just to work with one guy (D’Antoni-Nash), it would be one in the right direction. He’s dealt with his share of up-tempo offenses, but also thrives in the slower-paced, halfcourt styles of play.
Say hello to what Kobe and the Lakers have to run this season — calmer, more patient play. They can’t get out and run with the likes of Phoenix, Denver, or Oklahoma City. They have to utilize the frontcourt — since it’s loaded to the max — and see where Kobe can find his limitations. If he’s in better shape than anyone thought and wants to push the pace, this is a better roster to do it with. There’s guys on this roster with experience, and it’s not just a three-point heave fest with D’Antoni encouraging quick shots.
This season will be a crapshoot either way.
The Lakers, as assembled, are in the boat of competing for a bottom playoff spot, but falling short at No. 9 or 10 in the West. That’s not anywhere close to where you want to be with the 2015 draft pick being top-five protected. If the Lakers land in the lottery anywhere outside of fifth next year, the pick goes to Phoenix. And, if you’re talking about another loaded draft (which it will be), surrendering a No. 6 or 7 pick would be devastating with the amount of centers lined up for the draft class.
Byron Scott will have his hands full, if they ever decide to grant him the job.
This process has been drawn out since D’Antoni stepped down on April 30, and it turns out the wait has been for nothing.
It doesn’t seem to bother Scott, or scare him that his image could take another nasty hit if he doesn’t bring victories to this team. It’s the worst situation to be in, unless the Lakers give him a long-term commitment and are okay with washing next season down the drain. Sorry, Kobe.