Los Angeles Lakers: reasons for optimism

Kobe gives thumbs up

Kobe gives a thumbs up at Staples Center during 2012 NBA playoffs. (via ESPN.com)

The Los Angeles Lakers don’t look to be in a good spot right now, that is for sure. Not with their old, petulant, washed up former superstar signed to a ludicrous contract extension, unstable leadership from ownership, a lame duck coach, and a dreadful roster. Having said all of that, the Lakers will probably be back sooner rather than later.

The city of Los Angeles will always be a significant attraction for many players looking to play in the Hollywood spotlight, warm climate, and opportunity to play for the 2nd greatest franchise in the NBA. Those will always be trump cards for the Lakers, they don’t have to recruit so much as just being who they are, which will be enough for some players to join them.

With their lucrative television contract, the organization can withstand the tax penalty much easier than the majority of other teams in the NBA. Jeannie Buss, who hopefully for Lakers fans, can push aside her brother Jim, is an accomplished marketer and savvy business woman, in the mold of her legendary father. As long as she can remain in charge of her side of the organization, and hopefully nudge aside her brother for someone much more accomplished (which shouldn’t be hard), the Lakers will be already in a much better spot.

They also, much like the Celtics, will be in good position for high draft picks the next couple years, which they can use for either picking their own players, or using the picks as trade bait. Mitch Kupchak is an accomplished general manager, having learned aside one of the best of all time in Jerry West, and if he can keep Jim Buss at arms length, and do his job without any influence from the incompetent Buss, they may have a shot of getting better sooner than expected.

The next few free agent classes are going to include some unbelievable players, including Lebron James, Kevin Durant, and Kevin Love. It would be remarkable if the Lakers didn’t end up with at least one of those players. The lure of getting the opportunity to compete for a championship with the glam franchise of the NBA, will be too tough for some players to pass up.

One thing that will help out tremendously is that they will be out from Kobe Bryant’s contract in two more years. The Lakers free agent chances are much greater once the enigmatic Bryant leaves the organization- why would any incoming player in his prime want to take a backseat to someone who can’t play much anymore? Bryant’s over the top competitiveness and selfishness will make it hard to get players to come on board with him these next two years. Even in his twilight, he wouldn’t be willing to cede the spotlight to anyone else (which is kind of ironic, considering that is why he wanted Shaq to leave). Additionally, the Lakers will be out from Steve Nash’s contract after next year, which is great for them, because they don’t have to cringe thinking they spent that much money for someone to have little to no impact on the organization.

The Lakers, with their resources and legendary status will be back to competing for championships within 5 years. Just as long as Jim Buss isn’t involved in the important decisions.

  • Erad

    If you think LeBron or Durant would EVER in any circumstance end up in a Laker uniform you’re a self deluded fool. Barring some kind of Karl Malone – last hurrah type thing on ten years you will NEVER EVER EVER see either player end up in a Laker uniform.

    Kevin Love isn’t all that likely either. You know, Peyton Manning is going to be a free agent soon too. Lets look into that.

  • mary

    Who is this jerk? Kobe can’t play much anymore? What has he been smoking? Sounds like sour grapes to me. Like MacArthur, the Lakers “shall return” and he will eat those words.

  • bill_nair

    The Lakers suck.

    I hope half you fans realize they have no money to spend since they tied it all up in Kobe. But hey, greatest franchise ever.

  • Anonymous

    Sad and pathetic is how I would characterize the writer of this article. The Celtics have been and shall remain in the toilet for the foreseeable future. No impact player in his prime will go to play in such a biased city. No manager talent will go there unless there is no other option. Playing in the pathetically weak Eastern conference they should get to the playoffs but it will be decades before another championship comes to Boston, if ever. We understand your anger, we just don’t want to hear it because we don’t care.

  • FiestyE

    He definitely let us know that he is a Celtic fan with the remarks about the 2nd greatest franchise and the rude and insulting remarks about Kobe and even Jim Buss. He is mad because they never had a player that could come close to Kobe and more than likely never will As for Jim Buss, yes he makes mistakes and should have someone that can guide him and teach him. His Father didn’t get to finish his education on how to run the Basketball side of the franchise, but he is a Buss and his Father let that part of the organization to him. Now all that needs to be done is for someone to step up and help him learn how to make the right decisions, the same way his Father made them to have the best team in the NBA and the one that all the others fear. This writer is a 1st CLASS JERK to insult the 1st and BEST FRANCHISE in the HISTORY of the NBA and the GREATEST PLAYER TO EVER PLAY THE GAME!

    • bill_nair

      Kobe’s trash live with it.

  • G

    Ahh. Born & Raised in boston. Now I understand that 2nd greatest franchise slap.

  • laconic

    second greatest franchise? who else has made the playoffs more than 90% of NBA seasons?