Disaster Scenarios Where Los Angeles Lakers’ Mediocrity Could Linger

If you hadn't noticed, things aren't exactly looking up for the Los Angeles Lakers right now. Dwight Howard's gone, Kobe Bryant's on the shelf with a torn Achilles, Pau Gasol's old (33), Steve Nash is even older (39), Jim Buss is purportedly running the show...

The list goes on. But not all is doom and gloom in Lakerland. Even Grantland's Bill Simmons, a well-known "Laker hater" due to his love of the Boston Celtics, was able to concoct a scheme (albeit a far-fetched one) for bringing L.A.'s top draw back to prominence.

The team's books will be clean, save for Nash's contract ($9,701,000), next summer. The 2014 NBA draft has been touted as the best and deepest in over a decade.

L.A. is still L.A., and the Lakers are still the Lakers. So long as the franchise doesn't completely run aground at some point (knock on wood), there will always be stars who want to wear the Purple and Gold and live in sunny Southern California year-round.

We're not talking about the Dallas Mavericks, who, despite the best efforts of exuberant owner Mark Cuban, bring neither the historical cachet nor the attractive location to reasonably expect free agents to flock there.

Not that the Lakers aren't in danger of falling into the same despair-filled pit of a superstar's twilight into which the Mavs are now creeping. The sadists among those who despise the Purple and Gold and the fatalists among those who love them will certainly identify with these hair-raising scenarios that could befall the NBA's biggest brand.


What if...Kobe Bryant isn't the same guy when he gets back?

This seems highly likely, given the dubious history of aging stars who've suffered the same Achilles tear from which Kobe is working to come back. One need only look across the hall, to Chauncey Billups' forgettable 2012-13 season with the Los Angeles Clippers, to get a glimpse at how difficult an injury it is t...

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