Let’s be honest for a few moments: the Lakers were a failure last year. They had immense expectations, and none of them were as putrid as an 7th seed captured on the last day of the regular season, followed quickly by an uninspired...
Let’s be honest for a few moments: the Lakers were a failure last year. They had immense expectations, and none of them were as putrid as an 7th seed captured on the last day of the regular season, followed quickly by an uninspired sweep in the first round. Blame injuries, blame chemistry problems, blame the coach, but the Lakers failed.
If this was any other season, this would, and maybe should, lead to a cleaning out of the house. The Lakers would rebuild and reload for the future. But this season was certainly an anomaly: injuries led to 171 games missed to injury, with 81 of those coming from the starters. To put that into comparison, the Spurs had a total of 86 games missed, with 50 of those from the starters. Sorry Timbewolves, but no one was unluckier with injuries than the Lakers.
To put all this into context, the “Dream Team” lineup of Nash-Bryant-Metta-Pau-Dwight played just 189.2 minutes this season, which is the equivalent of 4 games. The Thunder’s starting lineup played 1306 minutes and the Pacers with 1218 minutes. Hell, the Lakers had lineups with Darius Morris and Earl Clark that played together more than the original starting five.
Jan 27, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard (12), shooting guard Kobe Bryant (24), point guard Steve Nash (10), small forward Metta World Peace (15) and power forward Pau Gasol (16) during a stoppage in play against the Oklahoma City Thunder during the second half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
So what does all this mean? Well, as the Lakers said themselves, plan A this off-season appears to be keeping this team together. Without a doubt, this team did not get a fair shake at showing what they are capable of. Whether you believe in this starting five or not, the argument that they deserve another chance has a strong case. In their limited time together, the starting five, who were never 100% healthy when together, were one of the Lakers top lineups.
However, all of this hinges on the fact that Dwight Howard returns, and this is far from a guarantee. Most experts and writers believe the Lakers are the leader in the clubhouse, but Howard has shown that loyalty means very little to him. While there is arguably no situation better for his future than the Lakers, resigning with them is far from a sure thing.
But what happens if the Dwight spurns the Lakers for the Rockets or Mavs? Where do the Lakers go from there? Do they continue without Dwight or blow the team up? Do they give up on the idea of a Super Team after one season much like the Gary Payton-Karl Malone days, or do they try to salvage with what’s left. Or what if Lakers management changes their mind about plan A and decide they want to look into blowing the team up.
Let’s take a look at some of the options the Lakers will have in this off-season.
Firth things first, the Lakers are over the cap limit, which will be roughly $70.3 million. Including a player option with MWP and a team option with Jodie Meeks, the Lakers sit at $78.1 million. If the Lakers turn down Meeks’ $1.5 million option, that brings them closer to the limit. I do, however, think they’ll bring back Jodie Meeks as he provided a solid spark off the bench and has a very affordable contract.
There’s some hope that the Lakers may be able to turn down MWP’s $7.2 million option and sign him for less, which is something he said he’d be comfortable with. As is, I can’t see a way the Lakers’ keep MWP at over seven million this year and we. If he does accept his option, the likelihood of amnestying him becomes very real.
Final say: MWP comes back on a 2 year, $6 million deal. Meeks’ option is picked up.
Cap Number: $73, 459, 350
The amnesty clause was created following the lockout to help rid previous idiot owners of their stupid contracts. The catch was that