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Weather Forecast for Lakers: Kobe Bryant Is Upset

Apr 21 2014, 10:28pm CDT | by

Ain’t no sunshine any more in Lakerdom, as rebuilding drags into its second season. Kobe Bryant was in Paris (the one in France) when his teammates were in El Segundo (the one next to Los Angeles)...

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14 weeks ago

Weather Forecast for Lakers: Kobe Bryant Is Upset

Apr 21 2014, 10:28pm CDT | by

Ain’t no sunshine any more in Lakerdom, as rebuilding drags into its second season.

Kobe Bryant was in Paris (the one in France) when his teammates were in El Segundo (the one next to Los Angeles) for exit interviews. He had a migraine headache six days before when he was supposed to go out and thank everyone for their support on Fan Night.

For those suspicious of one, much less two coincidences, Kobe’s people acknowledge that he is, indeed, “frustrated” with the Lakers, that being the word everyone in sports uses for “angry.”

Bryant, who’s pouring his keen powers of observation, not to mention his inclination toward obsession, into the draft, reportedly wondered why the Lakers had to win their last two games, leaving them 27-55 with the No. 6 pick going into the lottery, rather than 26-56 with a coin flip with Utah for No. 5. Of course, the team had yet to win either of those games when Bryant had his migraine so his “frustration” may go beyond that after tying himself to the Lakers for two more seasons through age 38.

This goes under the heading of “Are we still rebuilding?” as Bryant and Laker fans awaken to the fact that no turnaround is imminent. Their No. 1 pick looks like it will be a non-elite prospect from a disappointing draft class… with no superstar free agents like Miami’s LeBron James and New York’s Carmelo Anthony looking like they’ll go anywhere… and Laker management obliged to fill out its roster with players who’ll take one-year deals to preserve cap space for 2015 and 2016.

In a best-case scenario, with Pau Gasol back on a one-year deal and Bryant and Steve Nash missing 30 games instead of this season’s 147, the Lakers could go 41-41 or even 45-37… which would be unlikely to get them into the playoffs.

The dream scenarios are hitting the lottery for a healthy Joel Embiid, or trading their No. 1 pick to Minnesota for Kevin Love. The Lakers will certainly make the offer; the Timberwolves might even go for it if Love, who’s widely suspected of wanting to join the Lakes, tells the Wolves that he’ll walk when his contract runs out in 2015, otherwise. 

In the part that everyone, including Bryant, has missed in the depression that settled in after the Knicks hired Phil Jackson, Laker management has a sound plan. It will just take a lot of time—two summers after this.

Unfortunately for the Lakers, years of glory as the marquee team of the post-Bill Russell era with 11 titles to six for runners-up Chicago and Boston, have done what they always do, spoiled everyone rotten.

Lakerdom is united in the belief that it has been betrayed, by Jim Buss, the departed owner’s son… or Mike D’Antoni, whom Jimbo supposedly chose over Jackson.

Jim has, in fact, made mistakes, starting with re-signing Bryant for two years at $48.5 milion before Kobe showed he could stay healthy… but that was done in tandem with Jim’s non-controversial sister, Jeanie.

Hiring D’Antoni after seeming to signal it would be Jackson, wasn’t too swift, either… but Jim didn’t do it. Paterfamilias Jerry Buss was still in charge for that one from his hospital room at Cedars of Sinai, hoping to re-enact the birth of his “Showtime” vision with his first draft pick, Magic Johnson, in 1979.

Unfortunately, there’s no savior about to rescue the franchise from the clowns now in charge. The grim facts are:

–Incompetence didn’t doom the Lakers. Inevitablity did. While winning five titles in 11 seasons from 2000-2010, they grew old.<</p>

–Hiring Jackson wouldn’t have saved them. He was, indeed, the right man with his credibility among the fans, the sense of assurance he projected and his offense, which works with two centers as opposed to D’Antoni’s… but Phil was only going to finish out the 2012-13 season.

Dwight Howard preferred Jackson to D’Antoni but wouldn’t have been any likelier to stay last spring with Bryant going down and Phil leaving./>/>

–Trading for Howard wasn’t a mistake… or, if it was, it was one anyone would have made.

The glory that was the Lakers was built on other teams’ superstar centers, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Shaquille O’Neal. Who knew Howard was different enough to take $30 million less than the Lakers would offer to get away from them?

–Trading for Nash wasn’t a mistake but a calculated risk, based on their shot at a title in an instant turnaround with Howard. Everyone thought the same thing when they got Howard and Nash. In an ESPN pre-season poll, 37 of its 45 writers picked the Lakers to win the West.

–Writing off next season… or limiting the resources they put into it, as they did this season… is the right thing to do. Plunging into a challenging tomorrow in the hope of reaching a better “day after,” or “next week,” ownership just extended GM Mitch Kupchak’s contract.

That’s biting the bullet. If it doesn’t dovetail with Bryant’s agenda, he’ll have to make do, or wipe out seven years of personal growth since 2007, when he excoriated Jerry Buss, demanding to be traded. Instead, they hung onto him long enough to pull off the miraculous 2007-08 season, in which Kobe won his only MVP and they made the first of three Finals in a row, winning in 2009 and 2010.

In the good (?) news for Bryant and Laker fans, they have only just begun. Long-running marquee teams are built by organizations that pull off “miracles’ regularly, like the great Laker turnaround in the ’90s from Magic Johnson’s retirement in 1991 to the arrival of Shaq and Kobe within a week of each other.

That took five years from Magic’s announcement he was HIV-positive in 1991 to GM Jerry West’s coup of coups in the summer of 1996. They’re only two years into this project. In the meantime, Bryant and the fans can console themselves with the knowledge that beleagured Laker management can still face to grim reality… so far.

 
Update
10

7 weeks ago

RM47mil KWSG contributions still unclaimed

Jun 9 2014 7:54am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: About RM47 million of contributions in the Teachers Provident Fund (KWSG) still remain unclaimed, the Dewan Ra ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
9

7 weeks ago

Gold shop lost almost RM1mil

Jun 9 2014 3:50am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KANGAR: A gold shop owner lost almost RM1 million after after the safe on in his shop was broken i ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
8

7 weeks ago

Motion to debate MAS losses in Dewan Rakyat rejected

Jun 9 2014 3:39am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: AN emergency motion to debate the losses incurred by Malaysia Airlines last year, amounting to RM1.2 billion was rejected by the Dewan Rakyat toda ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
7

7 weeks ago

MH370 Tragedy: Hisham: RM27.6 mil spent on 1st phase of SAR

Jun 9 2014 2:11am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia spent some RM27.6 million in its first phase of the search operations for missing Malaysia Airline flight MH370, said Acting Transport Minister, Datuk Seri His ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
6

7 weeks ago

9.1m litres of diesel seized in a month

Jun 8 2014 1:11am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

PUTRAJAYA: The Domestic Trade, Cooperatives, and Consumerism ministry has seized some 9.1 million litres of diesel and property worth RM58 million since mounting ‘Operasi Diesel Sela ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
5

8 weeks ago

Girl, 9, awarded RM2.78m compensation for medical negligence

Jun 6 2014 4:56am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: A nine-year-old girl who suffered brain damage during her birth at a government hospital was awarded over RM2.78 million ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
4

8 weeks ago

Malaysia's total trade in April up 12pc

Jun 5 2014 11:52pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's total trade in April 2014 rose by 12 per cent from a year ago to RM123.86 billion due to growing trading activities, International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Moha ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
3

8 weeks ago

Works Ministry to spend RM20m for upgrading works at 50 accident black spots

Jun 4 2014 11:35pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

JOHOR BARU: The Works Ministry will implement upgrading works at 50 accident prone locations in the country that have been identified this year involving an a ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
2

8 weeks ago

Najib launches loan scheme for Ramadan traders

Jun 4 2014 10:24pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

PUTRAJAYA: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak today launches RM45 million Ramadan B ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
1

8 weeks ago

Residents bring up objection against Kidex to Suhakam

Jun 4 2014 4:49am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

PETALING JAYA: A group of 20 Petaling Jaya residents held a meeting with the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) over their objection against the proposed RM2.2 billion Kinrara Damansara Skyway (Kidex) today. ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 

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