First, the Lakers all-important star guard Kobe Bryant. So he gets a little extra rest over the summer and into the fall. How could that possibly hurt him? The guy has played deep into the playoffs for three-straight years. So no, the answer is a little rest couldn’t hurt him, but realize that Bryant is like a machine. He’s off in the summer, but works out on a consistent basis. Without playing time in a regulation game, he could experience some rust. It only gets harder as he gets older and while we all get that there are plenty of things that Bryant can do, the one thing he can’t is turn back the sands of time. Over the course of the last season, when he did practice with the team he was on a reduced role and according to him that had an adverse effect on the rest of the players because he wasn’t there to kick them in gear.
In as much as Bryant tries to deny it or steer away from his own mortality as an elite player, it’s hard to negate the fact that his window of opportunity to win a couple more championships with this core group of players is narrowing with each passing year. While a lockout shortened season would lead to some much needed rest and relaxation, it doesn’t come without sacrificing another year of basketball for Bryant. He already claims last year was wasted by not winning a championship—it could easily turn into two wasted years. Unless…
Regardless of how long the players are locked out, the only thing that’s certain is the uncertainty of the terms within the new collective bargaining agreement. Almost as uncertain as the direction the Lakers will choose to go in this post-Phil Jackson era. If the lockout results in only a few months of work stoppage, being a veteran team, the Lakers will benefit from a familiarity in personnel and system making Brian Shaw an ideal candidate to keep this core group together and try to win another title. While the decision on who will be the Lakers next head coach doesn’t hinge on the lockout situation, it’s something the front office might want to consider.
If the new agreement results in the league placing a hard cap on the teams, the Lakers would only be able to sign a couple of maximum contracts and rely on getting crafty by addressing problem areas through the draft process or shifting players via trade. The Lakers have always had the luxury of luring high-impact players, but it’s going to be much harder to do so when they already have two players (Bryant, Pau Gasol) under hefty contracts. In that regard, the main attraction for the Lakers and their fans, Dwight Howard, looks more and more like a Hollywood dream.
Perhaps what would become of the Lakers as a result of the lockout is minuscule compared to the main concern which is having to go without basketball for a whole season. Especially when the game is being played at such a high level.
“But at the end of the day you still have to come back to you know what do you have,” said Fisher. “What’s in place and what we have is an unbelievable game full of unbelievable players. I think the fans have spoken obviously that they want to see NBA basketball…so we’re going to try and do everything we can to make sure that they continue to see NBA basketball.”[phpbay]Los Angeles Lakers, 3, “”, “”[/phpbay]