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Have the L.A. Lakers lost their spark?

Free Agency Math With The Lakers


By GLENN MINNIS
XN Sports

Kobe Bryant still talks a good game, even as his Los Angeles Lakers no longer appear capable of backing up his words or giving power to his boastful admonishment.

Soon after the Lakers' franchise-worst 27-55 season was over, Bryant weighed in, imploring L.A. fans to flush the stench of it from their collective psyches with the assurance that next season "will be epic."

But in truth, how can they really convince themselves into delving such a euphoric state-of-mind when nowadays nothing ever seems to go right for the franchise that boasts Bryant, Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Shaquille O'Neal, Wilt Chamberlain and Jerry West as its headline acts and 16 NBA titles as the basis for the franchise's magical storyline?

Now, fast–forward to today and ask yourself, with all their historical pizzazz and current salary cap space, how is it the Lakers will almost certainly be the last-place finishers in the high-stakes game to land either LeBron James or Carmelo Anthony in this summer free agency?

In years past, Hall of Famers, Abdul Jabbar, O'Neal, Gary Payton and Karl Malone have all forced their way to L.A. because ... well, it's the home of Lakers' Nation. But now, in the age of the recruitment of James and Anthony, the best reason GM Mitch Kupchak could recently voice for arguably two of the league's top five players not moving heaven and earth to somehow join the franchise is "why not?"

Mind you, this all comes on the heels of Dwight Howard bolting the fabled franchise last summer for the far less glamorous confines of Houston, at a personal cost to himself of some $25 million, no less.

"This is a championship franchise," said Kupchak, seemingly in denial as much as Bryant about the once Showtime Lakers modern-day status. "As long as Kobe is on this team, we have to believe we can contend for a championship," he added of the 35-year-old Hall of Fame bound guard who lasted all of six games last season.

Kupchak has to know subbing Luol Deng and Caron Butler for LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony, which the Lakers are rumored to be earnestly considering if their play for the two stars fizzles out as it almost certainly will, does not equate to the same thing - even when you have Kobe Bryant in the mix.

In short, the Lakers are desperate for a new identity and Kobe boasting from the strength of who they used to be simply won't cut it. In his heart of hearts, even Kobe Bryant has come to realize this. To rant about anything else simply has to be the competitor in him talking.

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Kenny Diane Jones July 06 2014 at 12:36 PM

It's time to dump Kobe and start the rebuilding process just like Boston is doing.

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3 replies
murphyajnjc July 06 2014 at 12:41 PM

I don't watch the Lakers, to many players think they are the star player and is ruining the team!

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1 reply
David murphyajnjc July 07 2014 at 3:42 PM

then why are you reading about them?

Flag Reply 0 rate up
janka51 July 06 2014 at 1:37 PM

this game was ruined years ago

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3 replies
Petey 24 July 06 2014 at 5:11 PM

Obviously Glen Minnis you have no idea what your talking about. It's LA.. So what if they are going thru a down time.. How many championships to they have? Yes,It's time to rebuild and re-tool. Big deal. Kobe wants to win.. Nothing wrong with that. The big three(Miami) Big deal. Stay with one team and win.Like San Antonio.The Lakers will attract many players always just because it is LA. Even The Clippers can attract players

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eliot1011 July 06 2014 at 9:08 PM

Kobe Bryant dawg.... Top 5 nba player....5 rings....lake shooooow coming back strong next season. Haters gonna hate. At least Kobe ain't running to another team like LeBron when he lose.

Flag Reply +2 rate up
DADDYO July 06 2014 at 2:04 PM

The Lakers core is old and broken down. The team refuses to acknowledge it is time to strip team and rebuild. Dr. Buss is the new Al Davis.

Flag Reply +2 rate up
2 replies
thomapickens DADDYO July 06 2014 at 5:26 PM

Did you hear he was dead?

Flag Reply 0 rate up
David DADDYO July 07 2014 at 3:43 PM

both are dead

Flag Reply 0 rate up
jwfoust July 06 2014 at 11:45 PM

Kobe is done. The Lakers are not a factor. The NBA is better for it. I hope the Lakers DO get CarMElo. He would be a perfect fit for their system and selfish attitude. Better yet, Kobe and CarMElo together. Wow, what an implosion that would be.

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2 replies
Nunez jwfoust July 07 2014 at 2:28 PM

If you Think the NBA is better when the Lakers are down,Your wrong dead wrong,Just like the Celtics...The NBA is ALWAYS better when the Lakers and the Celtics are good,its the Love hate thing when it comes to ratings.....Fans of either team will watch reguardless,but when BOTH teams are good,haters of both teams are going to watch and hope they fail...It is what it is.

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David jwfoust July 07 2014 at 3:44 PM

sounds like someone's team got beat a few too many times by the Lakers ROFLMAO.

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jyc925 July 07 2014 at 12:26 AM

I really was a Laker fan until Mitch Kupchak took over as the GM. I think he has done nothing but harm this team. It has not been the same since Jerry West left. He is the worse GM the Lakers ever had. The Lakers must have gotten him at a cheap price. I hope they did, because he is absoutley worthess. Think the whole NBA has become so racist that they aren't even fun to watch anymore. They should worry more about the game then who is saying what !! They have no right to be racist after all there are more black players then white or spanish so if they are so concerned about racism they should look in their own backyard !!

Flag Reply +1 rate up
3 replies
jmeekins33 July 06 2014 at 1:50 PM

Kobe's rant won't help? What in the world are you referring to? I'm really starting to wonder what is going on with AOL and their constant sensationalist reporting about Kobe Bryant. First of all this alleged "rant" wasn't a rant at all and secondly it didn't even take place recently.

Not long ago AOL linked a story about Kobe refusing to talk to Smush Parker (back in 2005 no less) and then a "no comment" by Robert Horry when he was asked if Kobe made him a better player was treated as some kind of a slap in Kobe's face. Is this the best you can do, dragging up old crap and pretending it's a scandal?

Fake headlines and overblown "news". What a joke.

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1 reply
poker25005 jmeekins33 July 06 2014 at 2:07 PM

Obviously you have no clue what you are talking about or you would not have made such a stupid and pathetic comment. Kobe rants all of the time. He can't keep his mouth shut for two seconds and someone needs to shut it for him. He is an idiot and proves that every time he opens his mouth. He whined all season long about the Lakers not winning, he always complains it is the fault of the Lakers coaches or management and as soon as the NBA finals are completed he starts ranting about all the players that are free agents and gives his personal opinion on their skills and then tries to tell management who to add to the team and who not to add and rants even more when no one does what he wants.
Please make sure you know your facts before commenting in the future.

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2 replies
sicilia929 poker25005 July 06 2014 at 3:08 PM

The FACT is that Kobe Bryant has five world championships and will go down as one of the top players of all time. He has earned the right to say whatever he pleases, whenever he pleases.
Perhaps you should learn to proper punctuation before you post in the future.

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Alexamerling43 poker25005 July 06 2014 at 5:35 PM

So disrespectful

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vstlvlvaccaro July 06 2014 at 5:06 PM

Bryant's contract is like a dead albatross stinking up the team ...Laker's fault for not being more creative in crafting an aging players contract ...

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1 reply
g23you2012 vstlvlvaccaro July 07 2014 at 11:29 AM

I agree with you on this.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
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