Bleacher Report Sat, 05/23/2009 11:47 AM
There is always a possibility that an upset can happen. It is no different with the Los Angeles Lakers. The Lakers who are currently tied with the Denver Nuggets in their best of seven Western Conference Finals series at one game game apiece have a chance like every other team to lose.
After losing to the Boston Celtics last year, the Lakers are looking for redemption. Lets overview their past couple of seasons
Ever since the Lakers traded Shaq to the Miami Heat in the summer of of 2005, the Lakers had been struggling not making the playoffs the year Shaq left, and getting eliminated two years in a row in the first round to the Suns. They went a combined 121-125 Win/Loss record since they traded Shaq.
To make things worse, Kobe Bryant was supposedly demanding trades if the Lakers team did not show signs of improvement. Bryant said on 1050 ESPN Radio in New York: "I would like to be traded, yeah. Tough as it is to come to that conclusion there's no other alternative, you know?"
"[The Lakers] obviously want to move in a different direction in terms of rebuilding," Bryant said, adding he could have opted to sign with the Los Angeles Clippers or Chicago Bulls instead. "Three years ago when I was re-signing they should have told me they wanted to rebuild."
As the 2007-2008 season began, the Lakers started off great with Kobe Bryant leading the way with the breakout star Andrew Bynum. The Lakers had everything going for the until Bynum went down with an injury against Memphis. Things were even worse as Trevor Ariza, Luke Walton and Chris Mihm were all injured.
The Lakers then went 3-8 without Bynum in the lineup. Once again, the Lakers seemed for disaster and possibly drama from Kobe Bryant if they did not make the playoffs, or not advancing past the first round as Bynum was ruled out until the post-season was over.
Then the miracle came. A PF/C came.
Pau Gasol arrived in Hollywood.
A trade that sent Kwame Brown, Javaris Crittenton and two first round draft picks from the Lakers to the Grizzlies for Pau Gasol. Considered one of the most lopsided trades ever, Gregg Popovich went off saying “What they did in Memphis is beyond comprehension. There should be a trade committee that can scratch all trades that make no sense. I just wish I had been on a trade committee that oversees NBA trades. I’d like to elect myself to that committee. I would have voted no to the L.A. trade.”
The Lakers then went 29-9 since the trade an finished first in the west and were heavily favoured to make it to the NBA finals.
After easily sweeping the Iverson and Carmelo led Nuggets, the Lakers domination continued as they went 8-3 combined against the Hornets and Spurs en route to the coveted NBA finals.
The Lakers were pitted against the Boston Celtics, a highly anticipated finals match up that shot ratings to the sky. The Celtics being more hungry for that coveted NBA championship beat the Lakers in six games at home and send them packing for next season.
It seemed the Lakers would do it. Kobe Bryant won his first ever MVP and thought he would finally get that monkey off his back whispering in his ear saying "Kobe, you can't do it without me. How does my ass taste"
The Lakers entered the off season with one thing in mind. To work their butts off and prepare for next season. They upped their D and once the regular season started, everybody had the Lakers in the finals for sure, possibly even a championship.
The Lakers started off the first month 11-1 and continued to play great championship basketball. They snapped the Boston Celtics streak of 19 consecutive wins, a franchise record on Christmas day, and but they six month anguish behind them.
They went to Cleveland and snapped the Cavs 23 straight home games won at the "Q", showing everybody that they can beat anybody.
Now maybe after beating their two main competitions, the Lakers did not expect the post-season to be this hard.
Things are being brought up that the Lakers are not playing with any heart of will of what it takes to win a championship. Analysts bring up their inconsistency and how they are on and off in the playoffs, something that cannot happen if this team wants to win a championship.
The Lakers were forced into a game seven against the depleted Rockets because of their inability to win on the road against them. They went 1-2 against the Rockets in the Toyota centre.
It could be the fact that the Rockets had the advantage like the Warriors had the advantage against the Mavericks. Either way the Lakers were questioned.
They are now facing a different Denver Nugget team and they will sure be a problem for the Lakers. It is possible that the Lakers won't beat the Nuggets, it is also possible that they will. If they do, they advance to the Finals and Kobe gets that chance to get the monkey off his back.
If they don't it will be considered an upset. But lets just say they do, and lose.
The Lakers were heavily favored to win this year before the Cavs became a prodigy during the beginning of the season. It would be considered an upset. If the Lakers lose a series at all it would be considered an upset. No one had higher expectations for the team than the Lakers, and Bryant.
This would leave the Laker coaching staff in question as well as Kobe Bryant. It could be like the summer of 2005 all over again. Pau Gasol could be moved let it be a financial move, or a personal asking. Maybe he does not want to play with Kobe anymore? I'm just saying.
This also favors the fact that Kobe can't "Do it without me". It makes Kobes life more annoying with the media saying he cant win it with "him".
It could go as far as Kobe wanting to leave once again. He controls his own destiny as he can opt out of his contract this off season and join other teams such as the Grizzlies. That is highly unlikely as the cap room wont be available. If anything a sign and trade.
The Lakers front office could want to rebuild around Bynum and a PG. Shipping Kobe and Gasol for a couple of picks and players and expiring contracts to go for the high hyped free agent class of 2009-2010.
Phil Jackson says he will stay until 2010, but that remains to be seen. Kobe Bryant quickly falls again in the MJ, Kobe conversation. He who must not be named has six rings, while Bryant is trying to get his fourth. LeBron is trying to get his first ring, and has already won the MVP. LeBron moves higher in the conversation of who's the better player.
Winning a championship is a must this year for the Lakers. It remains to be seen if they can go that far.
We all love this what ifs situations. Not saying it will happen, but I'm just saying. Read more...
Sun, 02/22/2009 11:28 PM
The Los Angeles Lakers have traded backup center Chris Mihm to the Memphis Grizzlies. In a financial move, the Lakers will receive a conditional second round pick in the 2013 NBA Draft. The team also receives a $2.6 million trade exception, good for a full year. Read more...