Before this year’s calendar even hit July 1st, the 2010 NBA offseason had already become arguably the most significant offseason in sports history. Never before has the future location of an athlete been so widely covered and so often discussed. Whether you credit this aspect to the ever-expanding technologies of the Internet (i.e. Twitter, the emergence of blogs, etc.) or LeBron’s three-month (and counting) heist of the sports media (I’ll go with the former), one would be hard-pressed to disagree the impact the Summer of 2010 has had on the entire NBA.
While LeBron took his talents to South Beach to team up with former finals MVP Dwyane Wade and new lap dog Chris Bosh, the Los Angeles Lakers made “the decision” to maneuver slightly under the radar this summer. Coming off of their second championship in as many seasons, this would seem like an impossible feat for the Lake Show, but working in the “Summer of LeBron’s” shadow made it fairly easy.
Even if the Pau Gasol trade was a bigger steal than Winona Ryder’s last trip to the mall, Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak has proven himself to be among the NBA’s elite at that position. From 2003 to 2009, Kupchak has turned Brian Cook and Vladamir Radmonovic into Ron Artest (formerly Trevor Ariza) and Shannon Brown, while coming away with late-round draft gems in Luke Walton, Sasha Vujcacic, Ronny Turiaf and Jordan Farmar. Although not all of these players remain on the team’s roster, each one of them provided valuable minutes for the Lakers during their time donning the forum blue and gold.
Even though the Lakers didn’t win the LeBron sweepstakes this past summer, it was nonetheless a successful offseason, as they returned important players, found diamonds in the draft’s rough and rejuvenated the self-proclaimed “Bench Mob” with key free-agent acquisitions. While the Super Friends of South Beach may have formed their own Hollywood in Miami, the Lakers spent their offseason making the necessary free agent and personnel decisions to keep them atop of the NBA for yet another year.