The Los Angeles Lakers And The Season Of Fallen Dreams

24
Jul

Key Additions

Key Losses

Julius Randle

Pau Gasol

Jeremy Lin

Kendall Marshall

Carlos Boozer

Jodie Meeks

Ed Davis

Chris Kaman

For as long as anyone can remember, the Los Angeles Lakers have been the franchise to beat. The City of Angels has been host to some of the league’s brightest stars, from Magic Johnson to Jerry West the Lakers have always been on the hunt for the championship. Now that the Lakers are in rebuilding mode, many believed that it would be a quick fix.

The Lakers walked into this offseason with ample salary cap space, making it a feasible dream to sign to big players at a sizable discount.

The Lakers had their eyes on the big fish like LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony, but in the end neither of them took their talents to Hollywood. Lakers fans were devastated but Mitch Kupchak had to make some roster changes in order to keep the very outspoken Kobe Bryant at peace. So what did he do? He decided to wait and play the free agency game next summer. They traded for Jeremy Lin, a salary cap dump for the Rockets. They picked up Carlos Boozer who was amnestied by the Chicago Bulls. And with the seventh overall pick, they drafted former Kentucky Wildcat, Julius Randle. The Lakers also re-signed Nick Young and Xavier Henry who both played well last season.

But, after losing out on LeBron and Carmelo, the Lakers lost two of their own key players. Pau Gasol left the Lakers for the Chicago Bulls. Over the last seven years, Gasol was an instrumental part in the Lakers reaching three straight NBA Finals, winning back-to-back Championships. Gasol did suffer a range of injuries last season and only played in sixty games, despite the injuries Gasol averaged 17.4 ppg 9.7 rpg and 3.4 apg. The Lakers also lost Jodie Meeks. Meeks had the best year of his career last season. He averaged 15.7 ppg, while shooting 46% from the field and 40% from deep. His long-range ability is a valuable asset for any team. Stan Van Gundy realized Meeks’ value and snatched him away from the Lakers. Chris Kaman also moved on from the Lakers. He never really fit in Mike D’Antoni’s system and Kaman was left with a chip on his shoulder in regards to the Lakers.

Everybody knows Jeremy Lin for his incredible run with the New York Knicks, the question remains, just how good is he? Carlos Boozer has been scrutinized the last few years in Chicago. He has not been the same player since he left the Utah Jazz in 2010. He will have a lot to prove this season as he will most likely be a free agent next season. But most importantly, Kobe Bryant has the most to prove. After missing a full season due to injuries, Kobe will get to answer the naysayers questions of, “does he have any fuel left in the tank?”

With that being said, the Lakers have made a lot of changes this offseason. Will the changes get the Lakers to the playoffs? Probably not. Will they win more games than last year? Yes. Will the Lakers be able to sign a big name free agent next summer? Only time will tell.

About the author: Mario Hicks

Mario Hicks is from Orlando, FL and is a college basketball player at Rockford University. He recently graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration with a minor in Political Science. Currently, Mario is pursuing a Master's degree in Business with a concentration in management as he enters his final season of collegiate basketball.