Eighty-two games in an NBA season, and the Lakers are bound to lose 60 of them this season. Pretty depressing.
For as bad as they’ve been, Mitch Kupchak has been hard to fault. The Lakers aren’t saddled with a cap nightmare, they seem a lock to hold on to their top five draft pick this summer, and even the contract extension for Kobe, which was immediately labeled an albatross around their neck, rode a wave of goodwill, good PR and good basketball sense.a
The key will be navigating the gravitational pulls of the league’s current star players. Scientists detect celestial bodies that are too far away to see by observing how light is bent and shaped by other, closer bodies. They calculate the missing variable and assume a certain invisible body in a certain place has a certain weight.
In the NBA, LeBron is still the player with the most pull, and whether he stays in Cleveland will trigger another wave of reactionary roster moves.
Jalen Rose thinks Kevin Love will end up in LA. I don’t see him staying in Cleveland. I don’t see Cleveland even needing him, as crazy as that sounds. But Love also isn’t a player that would care about Hollywood’s shallow benes. Maybe he’d pick LA to be close to Westwood. No one really seems to know how Love thinks, so maybe it would all work out perfectly.
Still, the best hope, if you’re a Laker fan, is that Julius Randle is studiously receiving BAMF lessons from Kobe in the bowels of Staples Center every night while his broken leg heals. And that kind of hope seems almost as empty as the last month of a 60-loss season.