As the Lakers finished their exit interviews, they enter an offseason filled with many questions. Will Dwight Howard stay? Can the team retain Pau Gasol without pay $80 million dollars worth of luxury tax? How will Kobe recover from his surgery? Will Metta World Peace opt-out or be amnestied?
This was supposed to be an all-time great Lakers team, but they turned into one of the most disappointing teams in professional sports history.
In my weekly column of trending up and down, I take a look at the Lakers going in the right direction and those that aren’t.
For the second straight exit interview, Pau sounded like he was resigned to the fact that he might not be a Laker. With so much money tied up in their star players and the CBA punishing big market teams with insane amounts of tax, Gasol might be a casualty to the cap.
Aside from Kobe, Pau is the most popular Laker as everyone defends the two-time champion and would sick to their stomachs if Game 4 against the Spurs was his last game as a Laker. Like he said, his future isn’t tied to Dwight Howard staying or going, but it looks more and more likely that change will happen.
Pau’s been with the Lakers for two great championship runs, and it’d be a shame to see him go out like this. He’s always been a true professional and showed down the stretch that his skills haven’t diminished at all. If he were to go to Germany and get the “Kobe Operation”, there’s a chance he comes back next year better than ever.
Goudelock gave one of the most insightful exit interviews of any Laker on Monday. Called up because the Lakers lost their entire backcourt, Goudelock talked about how he had the option to play in Puerto Rico instead of the D-League.
He admitted that he only made $24,000 dollars with the Rio Grande Vipers and had an offer to make $5,000 a week in Puerto Rico. Goudelock went on to become the D-League MVP and averaged 17 points in Games 3 and 4.
Depending on what happens in the offseason, there’s a chance that Goudelock returns to the team next year after a summer of training in LA. Goudelock talked about his desire to improve, but that he doesn’t have a place to stay. Hopefully “Glock Drop” sticks around L.A. and improves on a successful postseason stint.
Clark was this year’s diamond in the rough as he emerged from the end of the bench when the Lakers frontcourt were all injured. An impending free agent, Clark said that he and general manager Mitch Kupchak spoke about the number of teams that would interested in him this offseason.
Clark was adamant that he wanted to return to the team since he didn’t want to finish his career apart of one of the worst teams in Laker history. However, Clark will land a multi-year deal offer from another team and depending on the cap flexibility of the Lakers, he might not be able to return.
Regardless, Clark has shown his willingness to take less money and should be applauded for the way he stepped up when the frontcourt was battling numerous injuries.
It’s never a good thing when you tell the Lakers PR department to change your exit interview and then you fail to show up. Jamison underwent wrist surgery on Tuesday and had his interview changed to Monday. The Lakers nor Jamison explained why he wasn’t present, and it ends a difficult season for the former sixth-man of the year award.
Jamison was in head coach Mike D’Antoni’s doghouse early in his tenure, but played well down the stretch with an injured wrist. However, it seems unlikely that he will be back next season as he’s clearly lost a step or two and it’ll be interesting if we ever find out why he didn’t show up on Monday.
Ebanks’ exit interview lasted as long as the amount of playing time he got this season, 1:47. Clearly in D’Antoni’s dog house for some reason we don’t know, Ebanks wasn’t able to see the floor when the Lakers didn’t have anyone else.
The team decided to add Goudelock instead of letting Ebanks get a chance to show what he’s capable of. Last year during the Nuggets series, Ebanks was former head coach Mike Brown’s replacement for Metta World Peace when World Peace was suspended.
Whether it was his early season DUI or some incident that we don’t know about, Ebanks made it clear in his short interview that he would be looking to play with other teams heading into free agency.
While everyone knew that he wouldn’t be anymore committed to the Lakers during his interview, Howard didn’t ease anyone’s mind about his potential return to Los Angeles. It’s clear from his answers that he hasn’t given it much or any thought and doesn’t plan to for a while.
Like he did in Orlando, Dwight didn’t take any responsibility for the team getting swept, stating that it’s not one person’s fault, it’s a team. In a season where he was criticized heavily, if he doesn’t return, L.A. wouldn’t be able to handle him playing in another uniform on the Staples Center floor.
General manager Mitch Kupchak stated that it would be better for the Lakers if Dwight decided sooner rather than later, but it seems like Laker fans will be waiting a long time until he finally decides to stay or go.
In case you missed it, be sure to check out what Dwight Howard had to say in his exit interview!
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