Five Reasons the Los Angeles Lakers could struggle beyond this season
The Los Angeles Lakers are struggling. Ok, but that’s no big news. It’s obvious that for a team that was supposed to be contending for a title last season and it’s currently sinking towards the bottom of the Western Conference, things couldn’t be much worse. Or could they? The future doesn’t seem bright for the Lakers. Let’s see the top 5 reasons why.
Kobe Is Aging
Let’s face it. Maybe there isn’t one single fan of the team that can imagine the Lakers without Kobe. Is there? Raise your hands. Those who did most probably have now started to consider about such a possibility and mostly due to Kobe’s extended absence. The truth, though, is that the Black Mamba is aging. He is 35-years old and it’s doubtful if he will manage to retain his top-level of performance by the end of his two-year contract extension he just recently signed. Kobe will be 38 by then.
Lack Of Star Power
The Los Angeles Lakers had a unique chance to find the next face of the franchise last season. The arrival of Dwight Howard brought optimism to the team. A drama season and a devastating departure later, the Lakers are now in a tough spot. Apart from Kobe, there is no other real superstar in the team. What did you say? Steve Nash? Ok, next try. Pau Gasol? Come one, you can do better than that. The Lakers need to land a superstar soon. LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony are not realistic targets. The only real superstar than can be considered as probable to sign with LA is Kevin Love. But even if he wants to come to the City of Angels, he can’t do so prior to the summer of 2015.
Lack of Draft Picks
The Lakers have a first-round pick for the star-loaded 2014 draft and that’s it. Their 2014 second-round pick belongs to the Phoenix Suns as their first-round pick for 2015 does. Their 2015 second-rounder belongs to the Orlando. If there is one chance for the Lakers to find a star player, that must be done in the next draft. But will that be enough for a team that clearly needs much new blood?
Although the Lakers will have just three players under guaranteed contracts next season, those three players combine for almost $35 million. And if Kobe’s $23.5 million is considered a fair deal, Steve Nash’s $9.7 million is definitely a good one. Nash might not be even dress up for a game next season. Of course, Pau Gasol also has a big expiring contract, $19.3 million this season. The fact that it’s expiring is a relief, but still it puts limits to the Lakers’ flexibility.
Remember the anticipation around the team last summer and after the Lakers announced the signings of Nash and Howard? Can you see any of that enthusiasm at present? The answer is obvious. Even the players don’t have a motive to give their best. Perhaps Kobe’s comeback could boost the team’s momentum. But again, we can’t expect radical changes.