It’s been interesting, watching the battle between old and young throughout the playoffs. The final four is mostly three parts veteran, one part youth. Tonight could be curtains for the San Antonio Spurs, facing elimination at the Chesapeake Energy Arena. The Thunder represent the last opportunity for some semblance of the NBA’s next generation to get their shot at the Larry O’Brien. Of course, Kevin Durant isn’t exactly a bright-eyed rookie at this point – this being his fifth year in the league. Meanwhile, the old-as-Methuselah Celtics head back to Boston, with a chance to put away Miami and head to another finals appearance. Here’s a smattering of links from Laker-centric to the games at hand:
Brian Kamenetzky at ESPN’s Land O’Lakers remarks on the option pickup for Andrew Bynum’s last year under contract.
Dave McMenamin from ESPN Los Angeles, delivers his Mike Brown report card.
Mark Medina at the LA. Times has a report card for the front office.
Mike Bresnahan at the Times weighs in on Bynum’s pickup.
Matt Moore at Eye On Basketball writes about Orlando’s continued effort to being Phil Jackson to their front office, in a hybrid long distance relationship.
Jeff Latzke from the AP, files a report for Yahoo, about OKC on the verge of advancing, and the Spurs’ determination not to let it happen.
Big50 at Pounding the Rock has a preview for tonight’s game.
Aaron McGuire provides a game six Manna of Hope for 48 Minutes of Hell.
Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo writes about Miami’s frailties, and the possibility of an experiment gone wrong,
Mark Spears at Yahoo writes about the Celtics who wouldn’t die, headed back to TD Garden.
Generational questions and the matter of direction, loom large for the Los Angeles Lakers. Age is an obvious talking point, with Kobe nearing his end game. That in of itself doesn’t necessarily steer the boat but winning does. There’s also a question of style, of power versus speed. Boston as a team may be old, but Rajon Rondo isn’t. Without his quickness and game-changing ability, the Celtics aren’t still in this thing.
As widely noted, Andrew Bynum’s final option year has been exercised. It doesn’t necessarily secure his future – Darius wrote about uncertainty and free agency. And then there’s the matter of money – the staggering amount that’s on our plate right now, and the fact that most of it comes off the books in 2014. This brings us back to the here and now – what are the changes this summer, how does it or doesn’t it position us for the future? It’s the question of priorities and choices – youth, speed, power, and veteran ability down the stretch. Which path do we take? How do we best surround Kobe with assets that can bring him one more ring? Because forget all the on-record talk about lots more championships before he’s done – the end game right now, is one more.
– Dave Murphy