Los Angeles Lakers’ Next Chapter May Not Go According to Plan

When evaluating the Los Angeles Lakers' lusterless state against immediate ambitions, it's important to understand that there is still time for them to change course.

Equally important, though, is admitting their next chapter may not follow the intended script.

Past plans and visions of grandeur have quickly devolved into fluid strategies that change by the year. Ever since Dwight Howard chose James Harden and the Houston Rockets over Kobe Bryant and the Lakers, the latter has been at the mercy of injuries, cap space and the likelihood of first-rate free agents finding purpose in Los Angeles' market mastery and mystique.

Relying on free agency isn't a bad idea either. The Lakers had cap space last summer, they will have cap space this summer and, barring reckless spending sessions, they'll have cap space for the expected salary-cap boon in 2016.

That flexibility has already bought belief amid a 2014-15 campaign overrun with porous defense and mounting losses.

"I told them that I have no doubt that we will win a championship in my tenure here as head coach, because I know this organization," Lakers coach Byron Scott explained to ESPN.com's Baxter Holmes. "But I do know it's going to take some patience. It's a process."

Lottery-bound franchises aren't typically talking about championships. Patience and process dominate the conversation instead. But because the Lakers are the Lakers, Scott sees the light at the end of a tunnel they only just entered.

As does the 36-year-old Bryant.

"I agree," he told Holmes of Scott's comments.

Asked to justify his answer, Bryant responded in kind.

"Faith," he said. "The Lakers' track record. This organization is really good about turning around, period. We don't have many dry years."

Indeed, the Lakers have spent most of their existence planning for playoff berths and contending for champions...

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