Alas, the season is over.
For some, it might not have ended quick enough. Those would be the fans, the players, the coaches, the organization from the head of the Lakers on down to the wonderful woman at the main entrance that always smiles as she says, “Welcome to Staples!”
The only people in the basketball universe that will be sad to see the Lakers fishing is the media.
Yes, those objective readers of carefully crafted teleprompter tidings of comfort and joy as the Lakers follow an extraordinarily strange season with an even more confounding off-season.
Will Dwight come back? Is the chant of “$30 million more than any other team can offer” enough to bring him back for another jersey-holding presser?
Will the Lakers fire yet another coach? Whether they should or not isn’t really the issue, since it might be Dwight that makes this decision, and why not? Magic and Kobe interjected with coaching “requests” when playoff prospects looked dire. Byron Scott is available. Brian Shaw is drawing interest from the 76ers. Of course, there is always Phil.
How about Nash, MWP, and Pau? The specter of the “amnesty” haunts all of their post season regimen. With Pau the most likely fodder for even more trade speculation, especially since his worth could garner a few extra bodies, maybe even a draft pick. MWP seems the most likely candidate for the amnesty. Whereas Nash, the only Laker on the books beyond next season, should be able to prove once more he has serious skills, just in time to trade him in February.
What about Kobe? Well, for a guy that has played with broken fingers, a broken hand, a dislocated shoulder, two dodgy knees, and an ankle torn to shreds, a comeback doesn’t seem too outlandish. He might have to trade rim rattling dunks for floaters and finger rolls, but that’s a natural part of the progression on an aging basketball player. He can still hit jumpers, and if he has to spot up for those looks, or run off of a bevy Reggie Miller/Allen Iverson screens to get them, so be it.
Any Kobe is better than no Kobe.
The financial ideal would include convincing him to amnesty his contract at a presser where he immediately re-signs a two-year deal of equal value. Why? The loose change that he would provide for the Lakers could lead to some better role players, and his injury usually takes a year and a half to completely recover from. Then again, using the evidence below, Kob really isn’t that usual player.
Enjoy the summer, Lakers fans and Laker haters alike. See you next fall!