What History Tells Us About Doubting Los Angeles Lakers During Kobe Bryant Era

We've still got two months of basketball doldrums through which to slog until the opening of NBA training camps and nearly three months until the 2013-14 regular season tips off, and already the Los Angeles Lakers have been written off by people left and right.

Yours truly included, and not without reason. Dwight Howard's gone. Kobe Bryant's working his way back from a torn Achilles. Pau Gasol's old and coming off surgery on both of his knees. Steve Nash is even older. Metta World Peace is gone. The title of "Biggest Summer Signing" in LA is currently split between Chris Kaman and Nick Young.

Other than that, everything looks just peachy for the Lakers...

Dire straits of this nature, while uncommon in the history of the league's marquee franchise, are far more familiar within the narrower scope of Kobe's career. In 2004, the Lakers parted ways with another superstar center (Shaquille O'Neal), albeit willingly and amidst threats that Bryant might play for the Los Angeles Clippers if such changes weren't made.

Not surprisingly, the season that followed was a tumultuous one. The Lakers missed the playoffs for just the fifth time in franchise history. They posted a 34-48 record while stumbling under the short-lived leadership of Rudy Tomjanovich and, after his midseason resignation, Frank Hamblen.

The suffering wasn't all for naught, though. The Lakers parlayed the No. 10 pick in the 2005 NBA Draft (i.e. their reward for stinking) into Andrew Bynum, who would eventually develop into a key cog on a two-time champion.

But not before the summer of 2007, when Kobe infamously lobbied the Lakers to trade Bynum for Jason Kidd, then of the New Jersey Nets (WARNING: this video contains strong language from the mouth of the Mamba).

That season started on a more promising note than most anyone expected. Bynum showed some serious flashes on the court at the tender age of 20, particular...

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