It was hard to name this post. I might have called it:
- Meet the new Lakers, same as the old Lakers
- Lakers – Keep gettin’ dem’ (season-ticket) checks
The Lakers are sitting on some significant franchise advantages:
- an insane local TV contract, that craps money on them
- demonstrated willingness to go over the tax
- really great local weather
- a large and affluent african-american community
- a rich tradition
- Hollywood, the music industry, celebrity culture
So… why won’t anyone play there? Why is it more popular to play for the Sterlings than the Buss’s these days? How many times do you whiff on free agency before you get the message?
Maybe the NBA has changed? When Jerry Buss (and Eddie DeBartolo) roamed the Earth, part of the thrill of owning a pro sports team was hanging out with the athletes. That hasn’t been true for a long time. A decade, at least. If the Lakers were mostly held together based on the ties that bind, and the ties died 2 1/12 years back, where does that leave the Lakers?
To brass tacks:
The Lakers lost Dwight Howard, followed by Melo.
Did they have a plan B? Er… apparently not.
When the Mavs missed on Howard last year, it was clear they had a Plan B: sign a bunch of veterans. The Laker’s Plan B? Conserve cap space for another failing run next summer.
Let’s talk about the Kobe factor. Kobe’s contract only ever made sense in 2 scenarios:
- The Lakers hope to contend
- The Lakers need to sell tickets
All I ask, as a fan, is that the Lakers be honest with me. And plan 2) is not honest. Plan 2) is selling out lifetime Laker fans to watch the last 2 years of an amazing talent, a lifetime Laker.
You know what a good Plan B would have looked like: Lance Stepenson. A wild gamble, roll-of-the-dice. But if he turns into the next LeBron? Brilliant!
Instead we get Julius Randle, Nick Young, Jeremy Lin, and Jordan Hill, and whatever Steve Nash has left. Wee!
You know who blew it? Kent Bazmore, who could have logged heavy NBA minutes on this lame team.
I was in a forgiving mood last year, Lakers. And, yes, I will stick around to watch the end of Kobe’s career. I won’t be rooting “for you,” so much as “with you.” But if you continue to squander your considerable gifts, I will move on. The NBA is a glorious kingdom. Pity that you are no longer a part of it.