From Scott Howard-Cooper, NBA.com: The Lakers officially entered crisis mode Monday, when general manager Mitch Kupchak told NBA.com that the recent poor play by the two-time defending champions may drive him to make a trade to shake up an underachieving roster. “Regarding a trade, I may have to,” Kupchak said at the team’s practice facility a day after the convincing loss to the Celtics. “I’m not saying that I’ve made calls today or I’ll make them tomorrow. But I just don’t think that we’re playing as well as our talent level should allow us.” Even speaking in his usual measured tones, Kupchak’s disappointment and frustration were obvious. More importantly, while saying he had not talked to owner Jerry Buss since being controlled by the Celtics in the fourth quarter at Staples Center, Kupchak said, “I’d be surprised if he feels any different.”
From Kurt Helin, Pro Basketball Talk: It’s easy and maybe even trendy to say it was Kobe’s fault. It wasn’t. True, Sunday the Lakers offense against Boston Celtics was a heavy dose of Kobe Bryant. And way too much Kobe in isolation. It’s an easy storyline to say Kobe shot too much, but it’s not wholly accurate. The reality is there is a much more symbiotic relationship between Kobe taking over and his teammates not stepping up. Kobe doesn’t need a lot of provocation to step into a vacuum and fill it up with shots (shots he was largely hitting against the Celtics Sunday, going 16 of 29). His teammates are fully capable of laying back, and, well, you’ve seen the result. It’s a spiral — as Kobe tries to fill in more his teammates tend to stand around more and the result is stagnant isolation. That’s what happened Sunday, and Phil Jackson for one backed Kobe saying it was more about his teammates. The hard truth, it was more about Pau Gasol.
From Brian Kamenetzky, Land O’ Lakers: “Is it the playoffs yet? No. OK. It’s not the playoffs yet, we’re still playing regular season games,” Lakers coach Phil Jackson said after Sunday’s loss to Boston. “We’ll get there in time.” Derek Fisher, certainly no stranger to the process of preparing for a playoff run, echoed his coach’s sentiments. “I’ve just played too many seasons and I’ve been on too many successful teams to get bunkered down on ups and downs over the course of the season that happen to everybody. That’s just part of it,” he said. So despite the Lakers’ high-profile failures in high-profile games, they’re not panicking. And they can’t. That said, they know there is work to be done. The Lakers have 34 games remaining in the regular season and if they want to reach a point where they’re good enough to win a third straight title, here are five issues they need to address.
From Mark Medina, LA Times: You decided to help out with scouting after you retired from playing. How did that opportunity come up? My last two years of playing, Frank Hamblen used to always tell me, “You’re going to be a coach.” He used to always tell me, “You need to come in and start watching film with the coaching staff and see how we put together these scouting reports.” I started to do that, and he would give me reports the coaches would have and explain to me how they were doing things. When I finished playing in 2003, I talked to Phil about staying on and coaching. He said I needed to take some time away from the guys so that they would respect me as a coach. I had just finished playing with all of them so they would just know me as a teammate with the guys on that particular team. We talked to Mitch and there was an opening in scouting in the West region, so I was doing mostly college evaluations, going to a lot of college games, tournaments and sending in evaluations on the players and who I thought was draftable and what have you. Then as the college season ended, I would do advance scouting where I would go out and whoever we were playing in the playoffs, I would stay one playoff series ahead of who we were. So in the first round, I was scouting who we could possibly play in the second round and so on. After doing that for a year and a half, Phil came back. He said, “OK, you have enough time and distance away from the guys and the only guy on the team still was Kobe, basically. Devean George was still on the team. It was all new guys so they could respect me as a coach.
From Billy Witz, Fox Sports: Finally, amid all the grim looks, stern questions and tongue-clucking from the assembled media, Lakers coach Phil Jackson came up with an answer Monday that should satiate the masses. Question: After back-to-back losses to Sacramento (gasp!) and Boston (quelle horror!) what should the team’s approach be? “Suicide,” Jackson said. Baffled questioner: Suicide? “Yes, suicide,” Jackson said.