Perhaps the toughest decision Kupchak will have to make is whether to keep the Kobe-Pau-Bynum-Odom core together. We all know that Kobe isn’t going anywhere but rumors will swirl about the other three.
Gasol is coming off of his worst season in purple and yellow which was highlighted in the playoffs. Whether the alleged girlfriend drama was a part of this or not, Gasol often looked tired and it appeared that all of the basketball he has played over the past three years finally caught up to him.
Odom is coming off of his best season as a Lakers and perhaps his career. Despite the NBA’s Sixth Man’s great regular season, Odom’s inconsistencies during the playoffs may also make some wonder if his mileage is starting to catch up to him.
Bynum is the youngest Laker and was by far the team’s second best, and some would even say the best, player during the playoffs. Because of this, for the Lakers to acquire a star of the caliber of Dwight Howard or Chris Paul, the young center would likely have to be involved. Meaning we will have another summer full of Andrew Bynum trade rumors.
Kobe also appeared old at times this season, and concerns over him not practicing have been brought up. Bryant is going through a metamorphosis in his game, but expect a longer than usual off-season to cure some of the problems the Lakers’ leader had this season.
Other players such as Derek Fisher and Ron Artest also showed that the end may be near, causing the belief that the Lakers may have to address their respective positions sooner than later.
With that being said the Lakers should not push the panic button. A longer off season should be beneficial to all Lakers players, most notably Gasol. This doesn’t mean they should all remain with the team; the Lakers should listen to any offer that doesn’t involve Kobe as long as the trade allows the Lakers to remain a powerhouse and get younger.
Next: What to do?
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