The 5 Biggest Offseason Questions For The Lakers

By: 05.22.12

Pau Gasol

3. What is the future for Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum?
There isn’t an option where both play together again. Two All-Star forwards who should comprise the league’s best frontcourt didn’t, and whether Gasol is too rattled from the 2011 postseason or Bynum is too ambivalent to the concept of team, one has a ticket out for their combined shortcomings. Which is more reviled right now in L.A.? Probably Pau, still, because he’s the older one and the one who should have been able to be less likely to be caught in self-pity after being trashed by Laker fans ever since last year’s playoffs. Which would bring the most back in picks or players? Bynum, by a longshot. All that talk about Pau’s fragile mental state over two seasons in L.A. makes Bynum’s look like papier mache by comparison. Bynum leads by far in absolute frustration because of his youth and build, still. He will never be in the conversation with Dwight Howard because, while Howard has shown his ability to be petty, Bynum will flash it at any perceived slight. Maybe the “whoa/woe is me” thinking can fly on a team built around him for a little while. At the core, though, he’s no Superman now with Kobe still around; whether a team wants to give up a lot to see him run the ship solo is the Kupchak’s chore this offseason.

4. What point guard will run the show?
None of the Laker title teams had dominating play from the point guard position because it wasn’t needed. Shaq and Kobe were enough with the early three teams, and Bryant went back-to-back with Gasol as the No. 2 running mate and key help from Lamar Odom. Those teams all relied on manager points, like Ron Harper and Derek Fisher, and Steve Blake has been an extension, albeit not nearly as successful, of that line. Andre Miller, an L.A. native who goes home every summer to Compton to live with his mother, is an unresctricted free agent and would fit that mold. There’s a red flag; in Portland he clashed with Brandon Roy when Roy would become a de facto point in certain situations. Kobe would be doing the same, so how could they survive? Sessions could be his Ty Lawson, but Miller’s need to play with the ball in his hands moreso than other points could be the hindrance to that addition.

5. Is this a rebuild or a remodel?
This is a rebuild because the parts aren’t there to deal away one or two major parts and receive enough in return to reload. The Lakers are over the cap and own the No. 60 pick in this year’s draft. There are 60 picks. Lakers fans will hold out hope for a Nuggets-Knicks deal, where a star can be shipped off for a number of skilled replacements and a winning record, too. Again, it swivels on what the perception of Bynum’s ceiling is around the league and whether Mike Brown, or another coach, can mold the team afterward. The offseason moves will need Bryant’s blessing, of course, something the Lakers failed to get before hiring Brown. That said, his own uncertain future (not in this offseason but presumably the next) means his voice in team matters is becoming more of a consultant’s and less like a board’s.

What’s LA’s biggest concern?

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