The Los Angeles Lakers are facing a crucial offseason. After missing the playoffs — and not even whiffing them — for two straight seasons, they’ve got a lot of work to do if they’re going to come close to living up to their dazzling franchise legacy.
Head coach Byron Scott seems to already have a pretty good idea who he doesn’t want back in 2015-16. "I got a sense of a whole lot of them I wouldn't want to be in a foxhole with," Scott said about his roster, after Lakers practice on Monday. "I think they'd end up shooting me in the back. So I've got a pretty good sense of the guys that I think are going to be around, that we will build around, build together in this process and go through it.”
Statements like this one have been par for the course in contemporary Lakerland. The current Los Angeles squad is a comic disaster, with $24 million in salary committed to an icon who doesn’t play, Kobe Bryant, and a lot of media attention shifting to Nick Young, who’s better at being a celebrity than he is at playing basketball.
Rational Lakers optimists have two chief hopes heading into the summer:
1. That the team’s history and heraldry, in combination with the appeal of living in L.A., are going to be enough to lure big-name free agents to the Lakers.
2. That the front office is not buying what it’s selling the fanbase, and is in fact employing Scott and his roster in a covert tanking effort. No tanking team says they’re tanking, and Lakers fans are praying that they’re one of the league’s intentional losers, and haven’t actually compiled this army in an earnest attempt to win. Because if they have, then the future doesn’t look bright.
— John Wilmes