In the end, the Lakers biggest enemy this season was the injury bug. The Lakers were swept out of the first round of the playoffs on Sunday night by the San Antonio Spurs. It was the first time the franchise has been swept in the first round of the playoffs since 1967. Dwight Howard was ejected from the game in the third quarter. Kobe Bryant came out from the Locker room following Dwight’s ejection to give the team and fans some moral support. And just like that, the season that started last summer in a dream finally ends as a nightmare.
Now the focus shifts to the offseason. The franchise has a ton of questions facing it. Wait for Kobe to rehab and give him a proper send off? Allowing his salary to eat away at the luxury tax? Really no question about that. It’s a must, or risk the anger of an already testy fanbase upset that Phil Jackson wasn’t brought in over Mike D’Antoni and Dwight Howard’s seemingly subpar performance this season.
Speaking of Dwight, what happens with him? My gut says he’ll be back… money talks. But one thing is apparent, Dwight is in need of a coach or veteran to help him understand what it means to truly be a superstar who carries the franchise on his back. Two more months to go before we know for certain.
D’Antoni? With Mike Brown being picked up by his old team, I certainly hope the Lakers will recognize that a coach’s personality will impact a player’s production and take a close look at who will be on the roster in the future and how that matches up. In other words, get him out of LA.
It seems a given that the Lakers will have to cut corners somewhere. The likely victims of that will be Metta World Peace or Pau Gasol. Both are more logical amnesty options that Kobe Bryant.
Steve Nash… It might be time to call it a career but doubt that happens.
And then, there’s the rest… Bench help is key and the need to get younger and faster in a West that has grown up and around the legendary Lakers franchise. That’s your summer in a nutshell GM Mitch Kupchek. Make us proud.