“Legacies on the Line”
Move over baseball pennant races.
Step aside foul mouth President Donald Trump.
Make room for the NBA.
It started yesterday, with all 30-teams opening training camps with their media days.
In Los Angeles, a new era begins on one side of town. On the other, a possible rebuild will begin.
The Lakers and Clippers, separated by just a hallway at the Staples Center, are universes apart in the heart of the fans in the market.
The Lakers, with all those banners and all those trophies in the building. The Clippers, with no banners, and only hopes they can take the step to the next level.
Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka now have their Lakers team on the floor. The Kobe Bryant era is now over. Thankfully, so is the Jim Buss era.
The Lakers believe they will be about winning today with a young team, but looking forward to next summer, when the bumper crop of 2018 NBA free agents come available, and they will have cap room.
The Clippers broke up their big three, moving G-Chris Paul, ending the run CP3-Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan had together. All those 50-plus win regular seasons, followed by the heartbreaks every spring in the first or second playoff rounds.
The Lake-show brings back cornerstone forwards Brandon Ingram and Julius Randle. Jordan Clarkson returns at guard. Larry Nance and Lu’El Deng provide play off the bench.
But this season will be all about Lonzo Ball, and how quickly he can play in the NBA, and he will play lots of minutes, after his one and done season at UCLA, and after the all things his father LaVar had to say.
The hidden additions who will help include C-Brook Lopez from Brooklyn, journeyman big body Andrew Bogut, a former lst round pick, and the arrival of stick your nose in it defender Kentavious Pope from Detroit.
In the other lockeroom, there will be 9-new faces on the floor today in Hawaii as the Clips camp open.
Jerry West is a consultant. There’s a new GM too.
Gone are Chris Paul, and off the bench firepower guys JJ Redick-Jamal Crawford and defender Luke Mbah-A-Moute.
Shooting forward Danillo Gallinari brings his offense onto the floor after a good run in Denver, to compliment Griffin. Guard Milos Teodosic hopes to backup the injured Austin Rivers.
And there should be points from ex-Rockets guard Patrick Beverly, former Laker Lou Williams and Sam Dekker-a 3-point shooter.
What’s at stake beginning today will be reputations and legacies.
Can Magic Johnson actually bring something similar to ‘Showtime’ back to Lakers basketball? A great player, he failed as a coach. Now he tries it as a GM.
And will this be a time for Doc Rivers to reinvent himself? The former successful NBA head coach, was stripped of his duties as GM-Team President, after all the post season failures.
Yes it will be interesting watching how many games the guys in Purple & Gold, and team in Red win.
But it will be just as interesting to see what becomes of the legacies Magic Johnson and Doc Rivers. Can they get their good reputations back?.
Lakers-Clippers-trying to head in different directions.
Better than dealing with Trump talks and the NFL battle for LA.