“Lakeers–Let Down Coming”
The best laid plans don’t always work out, and now you wonder what happens next.
The Los Angeles Lakers got one deal done, didn’t get a second deal done, and now have had a big setback after thinking the third deal they made would make a difference.
For a team reeling under the weight of six straight non playoff seasons, and a team dragging around a history of ownership dysfunction, they don’t need more setbacks, and yet here they are again.
Yes owner Jeannie Buss cleaned house, running off her co-owner brother Jimmy. She dispatched longtime GM-Mitch Kupchack.
In came Magic Johnson with the hope his personality and experience would lead to better days.
LeBron James arrived, the opening night hoopla was exiting. So was the expectations. But all that ended in a siege of injuries. King James and the groin. Kyle Kozma and his back. Brandon Ingram and his shoulder. Lonzo Ball with three different injuries.
The Lakers tried desperately to do a trade deadline deal to bring in Anthony Davis, but the proposed trade ended in flames, with anger and reputations damaged.
It never ended, till the end of the season, when they ran out of games in the schedule. James disappeared at the end of the season. Johnson quit the night of the final game.
New leadership in LA, and a front office housecleaning in New Orleans allowed for the reopening of the trade talks, and the Pelicans dealt Davis to LA, in a blockbuster 7-for-1 trade.
But in the time it took for the deal to go thru, and for Davis, to waive a 4M-dollar trade cash payment clause, virtually all the marquee free agents, who could have come to LA, were gone off the market.
It was unsettling, in that the Lakers had to stand by and watch the cross-hallway Clippers make the deals to get Kawhi Leonard in free agency, and Paul George in a trade with Oklahoma City.
The Lakers took a gamble, convincing veteran NBA center DeMarcus Cousins to leave the Golden State Warriors to don Purple & Gold. The deal would give them a tough guy presence on defense and on the boards, to compliment King James and AD and Kuz..
And now this, another devastating injury for Cousins, a torn knee ligament, wiping out his coming season. This from a player who spent nearly a year recovering from the torn Achilles, and then another half season with a torn quad. If he didn’t have bad luck, he’d have no luck at all.
Now the Lakers have 3-starters, virtually no quality on the bench, and a real deficiency in size and toughness. Who’s going to guard all these bigs. Who’s going to do the dirty work that needs to be done in around the paint.
And as August is about to turn to September and training camps, the Lakers are in a tough place. Who do they go get at this late date to fill a critical part of the roster?
Dwight Howard, Mr. Mercenary, who has drifted from club to club over the last five years, is visiting with LA, but his career has become nothing more than that of an underachiever, who has spent more time on the injured list than making huge contributions to his teams. Atlanta, Washington, Houston, Memphis have all dispatched him.
Joakim Noah had a good run with the Chicago Bulls, went to the Knicks, and fell apart. Injuries and a bad relationship with coaches, led to his ouster. No one has signed him since.
Kenneth Faried came into the league with great credentials and had solid years with Denver, but is still out there, despite some strong numbers as a role player. He can contribute, but he’s not a difference maker.
Please don’t mention Carmelo Anthony either, unwanted and unsigned, whose reputation as a selfish player precedes him most everywhere now.
The Lakers entire season was to be built around an aging James, Davis, at the peak of his career with a year left on the contract he inherited, and Kozma. There’s nothing left out there, and what they have brought in won’t push them to the upper echelon of the NBA-Western conference race.
Journeyman part time center JaVale McGee, and a host of other veterans like ex Toronto guard Danny Green, Avery Bradley, Rajon Rondo, Jared Dudley and Kantavious Pope round out the roster. Green is the best. The rest are just guys.
They have 10-young players coming in to camp, none with NBA pedigree. Can you say NBA-G League?
Nowhere’s enough talent at key positions for new coach Frank Vogel, and no way to get more players because the Lakers traded the whole future away this summer to get Davis for a 1-year rental before he is eligible for a max contract next summer.
The Cousins devastating injury destroys what could have been, dominant success right now. And what if LeBron James wakes up an old man at age 37? And what if Davis decides he’d like to go to Boston or New York next summer?
The best laid plans have gone off track. The Lakers could be in for a real let-down season, something they had hoped they put in their rear-view mirror, after all these bad seasons in a row.