Fans and media who believe that the Los Angeles Lakers should blow up their team and start all over are becoming prisoners of the moment.
While it's easy to blame everybody on the court and talk about how the Lakers should trade everyone, it simply isn't that easy or even ideal to do something that drastic.
This isn't the NBA Live 2002 video game. You can't just trade players for whoever you want.
Salaries have to match in trades.
Right now, Pau Gasol is making close to $19 million per year. This means if the Lakers do trade Gasol, they'll be getting 2-3 average players in return. Josh Smith from Atlanta or Luis Scola and Kyle Lowry in Houston come to mind.
While it's possible to trade Gasol for these guys, how much better are the Lakers really getting in those trades?
People tend to forget that Gasol had 43 double-doubles this year. He had another consistent season scoring 17 points and 10 rebounds per game.
You absolutely know what you're getting with Gasol.
Sure at times he's not going to be putting in 100 percent and he gets lazy, but have Scola or Josh Smith shown throughout their careers that they can play in the playoffs in the pressures that come with playing in Los Angeles? Have they put up consistent numbers throughout their careers?
Pau is still a solid option at power forward and probably the best No. 3 in the league.
The next guy the Lakers might want to trade is Andrew Bynum. While it's easy to point out his immaturity and his injury history as reasons to trade him, it's not going to be that simple to ship him away.
These are valid reasons to trade Bynum.
He played the best basketball of his career this season and his value is sky high. The Lakers can get a lot from trading Bynum.
That being said, he's in the last year of his contract. Which team is going to be stupid enough to trade for him when he can easily walk away during next summer's free agency season?
The only way the Lakers will be able to trade Bynum is if they can give him an extension and then execute the trade. But then, they'll still have to untangle the whole "matching salaries" dilemma. Plus, whoever they get for Bynum (unless of course it's Dwight Howard) will most likely not replicate Bynum's production.
So who's next? Metta World Peace?
The Lakers could amnesty his contract because no one will take his salary in a trade.
Kobe's not going anywhere, that's for sure. The only guy who may truly leave is Ramon Sessions, who has a player option that he'll need to exercise if he wants to return to the Lakers.
The fact that he hasn't yet, makes one think that he might want to test the market.
If he does, this will be a great break for the Lakers, who can then use the free agent market to sign an elite point guard. Obviously Deron Williams will be a tad expensive and Steve Nash might refuse to sign with a former rival, but there's a young Harvard kid who will also be hitting the market named Jeremy Lin that the Lakers absolutely should target.
He may be a defensive liability, but the flow that he'll bring to the Lakers offense can't be ignored. The Lakers offense was stagnant at times this year but with Lin running the show, that will change.
It may be the tweak the Lakers will need to elevate them past Oklahoma City and San Antonio.
They'll also need to get rid of Steve Blake, Matt Barnes, Josh McRoberts, Troy Murphy and Christian Eyenga, so that they can revamp the bench almost entirely.
There are solid guys out there like Jason Terry and Michael Beasley that would make the Lakers a deeper team.
The last thing this team needs is a major overhaul.
They lost to possibly the best team in the NBA in five games, but they could easily be up 3-2 in the series right now. They're not too far away like most people are saying.
A B-plus or A-minus point guard like Lin along with some solid bench players who play strong defense will give this team a better chance to win.
An overhaul is foolish and they really won't be getting better unless their trading partners sell the house.
This is the Lakers core that will be on the floor up until 2014 or 2015.
That's when Bryant's and Gasol's contracts will expire and they'll have more room for free agency. The new salary cap rules are extremely stringent, and they're going to make it awfully difficult for the Lakers to spend freely like they have in the past.
If the Lakers are not used to second-round exits, they better start getting acclimated to them because they'll be seeing more of them, even if they do trade Gasol and Bynum.
But let's just say this: With Pau and Andrew, the Lakers have the best chance to win, especially if they have a point guard like Lin.