The Los Angeles Lakers didn’t shock the world in the days leading up to the trade deadline, unless you count Steve Blake as a valuable Laker. Blake was given away for Kent Bazemore and MarShon Brooks. Not exactly the most exciting trade that has occurred, but the Lakers did receive a 2.8 million trade exception, which will be a useful asset in the future, when Mitch Kupchak is trying to make other deals. Unfortunately for the Lakers, the players which they received from the Golden State Warriors aren’t going to have any impact on this team. Both Bazemore and Brooks are fringe NBA players, that will have a hard time staying on the roster past this summer. Lakers fans should just accept this as a move that could help a year or two from now.
The unfortunate truth for the Lakers is that they have handicapped themselves with the contract they pretty much threw at Kobe Bryant. While I understand Bryant is a franchise icon, his contract hampers their ability to move forward to the next championship era. Not that it is impossible for the Lakers to acquire a couple good players, even with Bryant’s ridiculous contract, it just seems highly unlikely. Also, why would a young player want to come and play second fiddle to a player that is in the twilight of his career, and refuses to cede the spotlight.
Pau Gasol has continued to play well, in what is almost assuredly his last season with the Lakers. Gasol’s name has been floating around in trade rumors for the last several years, with their being a few times, it seemed he was good as gone. So it is slightly humorous that his time with the Lakers will end with him most likely walking away as a free agent this summer. The only reason I can think of why he’d stay with the Lakers is that he is comfortable in that environment. While definitely on the back nine of his career, he could still be a helpful player on a championship caliber team going forward. He just needs to be featured correctly at this point in his career, as he should not being carrying the load offensively or defensively for any team going forward. As a teams fourth best player, he could be quite helpful in attaining that teams championship goals.
While the Lakers got run over by the Houston Rockets and the anticlimactic return of Dwight Howard, they managed to make a furious comeback in the fourth quarter in their game against their arch rival Boston Celtics. The current edition of both teams may be at the combined all time lowest, as their was far more star power in the stands than on the court.
There isn’t much that Lakers fans can look forward to the rest of the season, except, much like Celtics fans, to keep an eye on possible draft positions, and what players could be drafted at those spots. Bryant is going to be out at least another three weeks, and shouldn’t come back to begin with, as he should take the rest of the year to recuperate for the stretch run of his career. Plus, I can’t picture Bryant really wanting to come back and play with the likes of Mr. Bazemore and Brooks, as I’m sure flashbacks of Smush Parker may be around the corner for the Black Mamba.