The Los Angeles Lakers defied all odds winning the championship in 2020. It was a familiar moment for long-time Lakers fans but it came during an unfamiliar time — a global pandemic.
Due to coronavirus (COVID-19), games were played in a bubble environment in Orlando and some traditions were better left undone. None more detrimental than not having a championship parade to celebrate. The Lakers also delayed the unveiling of their championship banner, waiting until restrictions allowed fans to be in attendance.
Since then, the Golden State Warriors and Milwaukee Bucks have had the luxury of participating in full celebrations. The Warriors continued their recent success with another parade Monday. Watching parades in back-to-back years has left a bitter taste for players of that championship team, including former Lakers Kyle Kuzma and Alex Caruso.
The two were the longest-tenured Lakers when the Lakers won in 2020. They endured two disappointing seasons before the title run in the Bubble. While watching the Warriors parade Monday, Kuzma and Caruso couldn’t help but express their sadness via Twitter:
I’m sick watching this chip parade tbh 😭
— Alex Caruso (@ACFresh21) June 20, 2022
We didn’t even have one wth!!!!! https://t.co/sBWIikquYP
— kuz (@kylekuzma) June 20, 2022
Kuzma and Caruso were both key contributors to the Lakers championship. Kuzma played 21.7 minutes per game in the series, averaging 8.5 points per game. Caruso was inserted into the starting lineup of the close-out Game 6 victory. He played just under 33 minutes and was a team-high plus 20.
Kuzma and Caruso join multiple former Lakers who have highlighted their sadness about not having a championship parade. In October 2020, the Lakers’ parade was originally delayed until a safer time.
When the L.A. Dodgers won the World Series, LeBron James advocated for a joint parade with the two teams. Anthony Davis said the team pushed to have one, but it never came to fruition. Former Lakers head coach Frank Vogel mentioned there was a “void” from having no parade while Rajon Rondo also highlighted wanting to have a parade as a reason for re-signing with the Lakers last season.
Nearing two years since the championship, the parade will likely never happen, unfortunately. But fans can always dream and hopefully the organization will win another championship soon.
Rob Pelinka assures Lakers fans that roster changes will come
To hold a parade one day, major moves must be made to the Lakers roster. General manager Rob Pelinka is in charge of finding the right people to match head coach Darvin Ham’s philosophy. Pelinka told Spectrum Sportsnet changes will be made to the roster and that the team has to be better than last year.
Cap space is limited with James, Davis and Russell Westbrook holding large contracts. However, finding the right partner to get rid of Westbrook’s lucrative contract could happen.
Pelinka has also mentioned the Lakers will be aggressive in obtaining a second-round pick in Thursday’s NBA Draft.
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