LA Lakers Fittingly End Disastrous 2013 with a Dud

To say that nothing’s gone right for the Los Angeles Lakers this season is saying just a little—the Purple and Gold bid the year goodbye with a dud of a game against the worst team in the league.

What comes next? A new year filled with uncertainty and an ever-growing chorus of opinions, complaints and blame. This, set squarely in the white-hot spotlight of the Los Angeles mega media market.

The Milwaukee Bucks came to Staples on New Year’s Eve with a record of 6-24. They left with one more notch in their win column. The final score was 94-79.

For the Lakers, it’s just one more low point as the bottom continues to drop out. The summer began with Dwight Howard leaving after a disappointing season. Flash forward to six losses in a row, and as 2013 came to a close, boos were raining down from the rafters.

Management had a pretty simple plan going into this season—the hope that a healthy Bryant would retake his rightful place at the head of the table, that Pau Gasol would return to an All-Star level and that a bunch of minimum-salary test players might produce some sort of affordable core to build on going forward.

So far, the first two parts of the puzzle haven’t panned out. Bryant landed the two-year extension he wanted but fractured his left shin just six games after returning to the lineup. Gasol, meanwhile, has looked like a shell of his former self with just enough bright moments to entice one more decent contract as he approaches free agency—although it almost certainly won’t come from the Lakers.

The most recent of the frequent Gasol trade rumors has been the idea of a swap for former Lakers wonder-kid Andrew Bynum which would likely end with a salary dump by waiving him before January 7.

According to Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times, Gasol acknowledged being affected by the rumors:<...

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