Coming off a disastrous season, will the Los Angeles Lakers prove the rumors right and trade away their high draft pick for an established star? Meanwhile, Lakers star Kobe Bryant is said to be jealous of the San Antonio Spurs’ Tim Duncan, and it might not be for the reason you think.
Just four years after winning the NBA title, the Lakers finished this season with an embarrassing record of 27 wins and 55 losses. In the 54 years that the franchise has existed, it’s the worst that any Lakers roster has performed, and it’s due in no small part to big bets and trades the Lakers made in years previous.
Just a couple of years ago, Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak pulled off what some believed would be a miracle by trading for star center Dwight Howard and conjuring the ghost of Steve Nash. Paired with Pau Gasol and Kobe Bryant, the new additions were meant to cement a new Laker dynasty, a power quartet that would rule the league with an iron fist. “Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair,” Kupchak was said to have uttered.
Just a season or so later, the Lakers are a colossal wreck, and Kupchak is said to be pondering another moonshot or three in order to quickly turn things around. Current trade rumors have the Lakers trying to land Kevin Love, the Minnesota big man who wants out of the Timberwolves and into the limelight. The Wolves likely won’t trade Love for any of the driftwood that comprises the Lakers’ roster, though, even if doing so would get Steve Nash’s bones closer to Canada, where they could rest.
So what is a hobbled sports juggernaut to do? Hoops Habit thinks the Lakers could let Pau Gasol depart as a free agent this season, and they have the All-Star forward possibly making his way to Chicago. Gasol has already said that he’s interested in going to a team that can win, though The Spaniard has intimated that his relationship with Kobe Bryant could keep him in Los Angeles if things are looking up.
As Nash, Gasol, and Bryant rest and recover and plot a possible return next year, observers are wondering whether the Lakers will trade away their No. 7 draft pick. The last time the Lakers had a lottery pick, they got Andrew Bynum, who turned out to be a solid, if cancerous, center. This time, the draft is said to be deep, but Laker fans are fickle, and ownership is said to want a quick turnaround. Making a move for Love is possible, and it’s just the sort of big, splashy deal that typifies the Hollywood Lakers. Laker Nation thinks they could trade the pick to the Pistons, who would move forward Greg Monroe to the T’Wolves, while the Lakers get Love and the people rejoice throughout the land.
While much of the focus is on the Lakers’ future, Kobe Bryant apparently took a moment to reflect on his past as a Laker, finding that he was a bit jealous about something. Speaking to ESPN for a piece on the San Antonio Spurs’ Tim Duncan and Greg Popovich, Kobe made a surprising admission.
“I’m jealous of Tim,” Kobe said, “playing for the same historically great coach for his entire career.”
See, it’s not for the reason you would have thought, huh? Like, say, “I’m jealous of Tim because he’s in the Playoffs this year, while I’m considering doing commercials for Apple.” Or maybe, “I’m jealous of Tim because he doesn’t share a city and stadium with the most hated owner in sports.” Or maybe, “I’m jealous of Tim because of his sweet Merlin tattoo.”
(No, really, Tim Duncan has a Merlin tattoo. And goes to renaissance fairs. And plays Dungeons & Dragons.)
Over the course of his career, Kobe has played for nine head and interim coaches, twice for the “historically great” Phil Jackson. Now, in the twilight of his career, Kobe is preparing for a tenth coach on a team that is old and in disarray and we couldn’t think of anything but just imagine here that we made one more joke about Steve Nash.