The holidays are upon us and the Lakers have gotten a nice little rest – their last game was on Tuesday and the next one isn’t until tomorrow. They’ve managed to win three in a row – games they certainly should have won but it’s still a relief after the recent skid. Nonetheless, the team still seems to be somewhere in the middle of a long, byzantine crossroads, searching for an identity. In truth, the Lakers have been in transition ever since Phil Jackson left – his exit led to a series of firings, hirings, trades and signings and as we’re all well aware, less than desirable results.
The arrival of Mike D’Antoni in early November as the Lakers new head coach was itself fraught with controversy – the return of 11 Rings had been all but signed, sealed and delivered, except for one little hangup – Jerry, Jim and Mitch were not interested.
Regardless of how we got to our latest reset, the new era seemed full of promise. A funny thing happened on the way to the Forum however – Steve Nash fractured his leg and Pau Gagol developed tendinitis. Plus, a myriad of other little things – like Dwight Howard working his way back into shape and D’Antoni trying various and sundry rotations. And, he certainly can’t be blamed – it’s not easy mending things on the run. Still facts is facts – we’ve got a championship caliber team whose collective shelf life is older than Methuselah, and the searching continues. Darius examined the musical chairs in fine detail yesterday.
Steve Nash has returned to hard practice after his lengthy layoff. Kevin Ding from the OC Register has the details.
Ramona Shelburne at ESPN’s Lakers Index wonders if there’s a matter of sandbagging.
Drew Garrison at Silver Screen and Roll breaks down the return of Pau Gasol.
Eric Pincus at the L.A. Times has Magic Johnson’s take on the hopeful return of Steve Nash.
Ben Bolch at the L.A. Times ponders the question of playing Dwight and Pau together or separately.
The issue of Gasol not being used in closing minutes has been an obvious topic of conversation. Kurt Helin at ProBasketballTalk reports on what seems to be a positive development on this front.
In keeping with the spirit of the holidays, Ian Levy at Hickory High offers his second annual Basketball Wishes.
Transition doesn’t only come on the court. A couple good dudes whose links are nearly always present here, are no longer with ESPN. Andy and Brian Kamenetzky have been supplying the basketball world with wit and good humor for a number of years now, including long stints at the L.A. Times and the inimitable Land O’Lakers blog. Their exit is a matter of budget crunching and we’ve all been there, somehow, some way. The Brothers Kamenetzky will no doubt resurface and it’ll be none too soon – their take on sports and other things literary has always been sublime to say the least. Just for fun, I thought I’d dig through the way-back machine. First, Brian holds forth on Barry Bonds. And second, Andy offers his Ode to Slava. How do you follow a tribute to the mighty Medvedenko? Hurry back, guys.