While Cavs, 76ers Prepare for Doomsday Scenarios, Lakers Prepare Checkbook

PHILADELPHIA — They obviously got rid of Andrew Bynum’s ticking-time-bomb knees just before the overdue explosion. This week, the Los Angeles Lakers passed through the two NBA cities that Bynum has turned to ash.

Apologies, Philadelphia. Really sorry, Cleveland.

At least you’ll never forget the hair!

The Lakers are clearly awful this season, yet without enough eligible players they still beat the Cavaliers on Wednesday as an injured Steve Blake (elbow/thigh/eardrum/three cuts leading to blood-splattered shorts) dropped a triple-double.

The Lakers came into the game Friday two-and-a-half games ahead of the 76ers in the standings—and Philadelphia somehow made a newly-back-from-injury and newly-40-year-old Steve Nash look dominant in a 14-point Lakers victory. Nash admitted he was pushing himself to an unstable point where “my legs were shaking at halftime,” but the birthday boy was all smiles afterward: “Had a blast.”

Thanks so much, Philadelphia! Much appreciated, Cleveland!

The Lakers’ 2012 trade of Bynum to Philadelphia didn’t work out considering the disappointment of last season and Dwight Howard’s free-agent exit after that. But the 76ers never did see Bynum wear his No. 33 uniform in a game. Besides Bynum disrupting their team chemistry this season, the Cavaliers are left desperate to re-sign Luol Deng to avoid Bynum actually costing them three draft picks they included in the trade to get rid of him.

Looking at the stop-and-start rebuilds of the Cavaliers and 76ers is a reminder of how difficult it is to climb without the benefit of big-time free-agent signings.

What is going on with those teams speaks to why the Lakers continue to give free agency the highest priority in their rebuilding plans, even as they gear up for a first-round pick in June and search for prospective youth in a...

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