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Does Pau Gasol go to the Boston Celtics for Rajon Rondo?
Does Kobe stop attacking Mitch Kupchak like he has done countless times whenever something is just a little off-kilter?
Does head coach Mike Brown meet with his front office and start feeling more comfortable about the overall direction of his team and that he has their total confidence leading them forward?
The Lakers are easily the most overly talked about team amongst the media, just because, well, they are in a town that is enveloped in drama on a constant basis.
There is a definite pendulum when it comes to the media and the Lakers.
First, there is the ridiculous side, where the media drums a story to death that is not a big deal and makes it larger than it really is, such as the Kobe/Shaq “feud” of 2004.
Then there is the other side of the scale—the reasonable side—when we question the Lakers title chances every single year, because they are just one of the teams that should be talked about when the NBA championship is mentioned.
The possible Pau Gasol-for-Rondo swap falls somewhere in the middle of the reasonable pendulum.
It is not totally ridiculous to talk about non-stop, considering the fact that Gasol is definitely a wounded warrior doing his best to forget the fact that the Lakers view him as expendable (Gasol was part of the failed Chris Paul trade this past winter.)
However, it is not on the totally reasonable side to talk about on a 24/7 basis because the Lakers are still a formidable opponent even if they rely completely on their big three of Bryant, Gasol, and Bynum.
The way the media is talking about it you would think they are out of the playoff picture and desperately needing a trade. Not true.
So what happens from here on out?
I think the Lakers hang on to Gasol, realizing that his length and versatility were key components behind the team’s successful championship runs of 2009 and 2010.
They lost some of those qualities dealing Lamar Odom away to the Dallas Mavericks, but they still have enough to get by and make some noise as long as they are on the same page for when the playoffs start.
And this begs the next, and arguably most important, question—will the team find that cohesion and togetherness that made them so powerful for the better part of a decade?
I think a meeting between Brown and the front office is now imminent, as Brown indicated just this past week that he feels distant from the front office and barely has any discussion with them. If the Lakers have held on to any of the intelligence that helped them win five titles in twelve years, the front office sits down with Brown and addresses his concerns to make things right.
It has come to the point where the front office should consider pulling Bryant in for a meeting as well and giving him a “We want to win a championship, just like you, so just trust in us and what we have done in the past and let us do our job” speech that I am sure they have given him before.
In terms of how the team does for this season, I think they get to the second round but get ousted in six games to the Oklahoma City Thunder, who want to dish out some payback from a few years back when they were kicked out of the playoffs on their home court by L.A.
A second round exit will immediately put the spotlight right back on L.A. and their “failing expectations” and an ESPN frenzy of analysts and questions like “Should Kobe demand a trade?” or “Has Andrew Bynum reached his peak already?” You heard it here first, folks.