Los Angeles Lakers: What’s Next for Kobe Bryant, Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol?

Is this the end of the Los Angeles Lakers as we know them? Last night’s 106-90 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder has officially eliminated the Lakers from the postseason. It’s the second year in a row that they have been knocked out of the playoffs in the second round.

Kobe Bryant put up a valiant fight with 42 points and 5 rebounds. But he was the only player to truly show up for the Lakers. Pau Gasol played well, but not nearly well enough to make the Lakers a true threat to the Thunder this series. No one else did anything of significance.

Which begs the question: Where do the Lakers go from here?

Bryant will be owed $28 million next season,  and $30 million the year after, which makes improvements hard with the new salary cap. That means, the Lakers are going to have to rebuild around their aging superstar for the next two years.

He showed he can still dominate a basketball game with his scoring ability but had maybe his most inefficient season ever. He averaged 27.9 points on 23 shots per game this season.

Gasol, a seven-footer with great skills, is highly sought after on the trade market and will more than likely be dealt this summer. His heart and aggression was called into question by Kobe and others, and that has possibly ended his tenure as a Laker.

Those issues, in addition to him being 31 years old, don’t help his value. It will be interesting to see what his return would be.

Andrew Bynum, however, is the biggest chip on the Lakers trade table. At 24, he still has plenty of basketball left, as well as room to improve.

Of course, that’s if he wants to.

His biggest issue this season was his desire to play. Sometimes he appeared engaged, and other times he appeared to be loafing through games.

Over seven feet tall and a brute force in the paint, he should be an annual 20-15 guy. But his play fades in and out with hi...

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