THE LAKERS ARE ON THE ROAD TO NOWHERE

Hey, I gave them nine days, which is two more than I promised. And what happened in that time?

Not a damn thing.

Listen, never mind the 0-2 start and all the panicked Laker fans calling for them to blow the whole thing up or tank for draft picks or whatever. It’s as foolish a line of thought as the one that had the Lakers being able to acquire Chris Paul and Dwight Howard. Neither idea ever had a chance.

Here’s a little dose of reality for you: This team is pretty good. As in, “pretty good enough to win 40 games but nowhere close to winning another title” good. The Lakers have an 85 million dollar payroll, a rotten bench and the worst collection of point guards in the NBA. The Lakers traded Lamar Odom in a huff, either out of spite for asking out or in anticipation of another move they have yet to make. Meanwhile, Derek Fisher can barely stay in front of Dick Bavetta these days, much less Russell Westbrook, and Kobe is having trouble hiding his disdain for the collection of stiffs surrounding him. Can’t say I blame him.

Look, all of this is forgivable if you think they even have the slightest hint of plan moving forward. Problem is, I don’t. If the plan is to continue playing chicken with the Magic in hopes that they’ll take Andrew Bynum and nothing else, well that plan sucks. If you don’t want to use that trade exemption on something even vaguely resembling a competent point guard, fair enough. It ‘s when I read stuff like this that I really start to worryin’.

“I think we have a championship team, and that’s without making another move.”


“Where does this stuff come from?” he says. “You’d have to be kind of silly to give up two All-Stars like that for Howard. Zero truth to it. We have never been asked for Andrew and Pau and we’ve never offered them. I think they know we’d either say no or they would sound crazy for asking.”

Both of those quotes come from the mouth of Jimmy Buss, and both leave me torn as to whether he actually believes that shit or he’s dumb enough to think anyone else does. Either way, he has until the trade deadline to do something, anything to improve this team. If not, they’ll fall on their face just as they did last year and worse, Kobe might decide he doesn’t want to waste his last good years playing for a team that’s being run by a moron.
Did you see the Mitch Kupchak interview during the Christmas day game? Poor sucker had to grit his teeth and tell the world that he traded Lamar Odom to the team that swept the Lakers out of the playoffs last year because “Lamar wanted to leave and we respected his wish”.

I mean, was that sweet of him or what?

Hell, we all know that’s how it works in pro sports, right? Ask for a trade and we’ll do it. Even better, we’ll send you to a rival, and we’ll ask for nothing more than a trade exemption that we still haven’t used. Every team operates like this, right?

Hey, I don’t blame Mitch here. I know a puppet when I see one. Or to put it more gently, I am fully aware that he’s simply got marching orders and he’s doing his best to carry them out. I guess we’ll have to wait ’til he leaves to get all the juicy details.

In the meantime, we’re stuck with a team that’s just good enough to not be good enough. Oh, and if they manage to blow the Dwight Howard sweepstakes like I fear they might, they’ll officially be out of reasonable options for improving enough to be serious title contenders.

This could get ugly, folks. The ship is taking on water while the Captain is busy telling everyone that the situation is under control. Truth is, the future of this franchise is at stake right now, and the wrong moves can send the whole thing into a tailspin that could take years to recover from.

If you are the religious sort, now might be a good time to say a few prayers. Little Jimmy needs all the help he can get.

-John Hathwell

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