LA Lakers on the Lookout for Leadership as Big Changes Loom

LOS ANGELES — Kent Bazemore’s for-style-only glasses were on his face, and MarShon Brooks wore bright red sneakers that showed he even has the same attention-grabbing fashion as shoot-first teammate Nick Young.

Some of the young Los Angeles Lakers, including new arrivals Bazemore and Brooks, were huddling before leaving the locker room at Staples Center about late Friday night social plans, the sort of thing it makes sense to do if you’re a young Los Angeles Laker.

The Lakers had just beaten the Sacramento Kings, in part because of Bazemore’s defense and Brooks’ offense. The superficial recap is that Pau Gasol scored 22 points, Brooks 23 and Jordan Farmar 30 to lift the Lakers to a rare victory—and yes, the points were definitely part of it.

The leadership of Gasol and Farmar was more of it.

And it was a reminder that if his next season is going to be much better than this one, Kobe Bryant is going to need more than good health and more athletic teammates.

Flashback to Bryant’s tweet a week ago about being “not cool … AT ALL” with the Lakers trading feisty veteran Steve Blake to the Golden State Warriors for prospects Bazemore and Brooks.

Few knew much about Bazemore and Brooks at the time. Heck, in nearly a half-hour news conference with Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak at the trade deadline, not one reporter asked him why he wanted Bazemore and Brooks—the media focus locked on the Lakers’ greater struggles and rebuilding challenges.

Kupchak’s job, though, is to find young talent for the rebuild. Kupchak’s tougher task might well turn out to be finding anyone to share the leadership responsibility with Bryant.

There’s currently no reason not to use the stretch provision to waive injury-weakened, albeit proven leader, Steve Nash this summer.

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