Patience has been the buzzword surrounding the Los Angeles Lakers ever since they acquired Dwight Howard and Steve Nash over the summer. However, it's becoming tougher to remain patient as the struggles continue into the new year, even for the players.
After yet another loss on Tuesday night, the fourth straight by the Lakers to fall four games behind the final playoff spot, Nash said what a lot of fans have probably been thinking. He stated the team might not be able to turn it around, according to Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times.
"I think three or four weeks ago, people would have said, 'Oh, it will get better,' " Nash said. "Right now, I definitely don't think there's a guarantee it will, so the only remedy is to continue to work hard and give yourself a chance for it to get better."
A myriad of things have contributed to Los Angeles' poor start. From injuries to Nash, Howard and Pau Gasol to a lack of chemistry after an offseason of marquee moves to flat-out poor play, nothing has gone right for the Lakers.
Nash's comments are important because it shows confidence in the turnaround everybody was expecting is beginning to fade. On a night when he should have been enjoying praise for recording his milestone 10,000th career assist, he was instead forced to ponder the Lakers' outlook.
It's not good.
The Lakers and their fans entered the season dreaming of another championship parade and are now just hoping to make the playoffs. That's quite a swing in the span of a couple of months for a team with so much talent.
Unfortunately for the team's front office, the talent it assembled hasn't fit together as expected. Changes will need to be made before the trade deadline if they want to have a serious shot at turning things around in time for the postseason.
At least in that regard, the lack of chemistry is a positive. The Lakers don't have to worry about screwing anything up because the train is already off the tracks. It's becoming more clear with each passing game that the current setup isn't the right mix.
The most popular name floating in the rumor mill is Gasol, who's seemingly spent the last two seasons on the trade block.
Dave McMenamin of ESPN Los Angeles has reported that the power forward isn't going to request a trade, despite recent turmoil, which involves his playing time.
It followed a report from Steve Kyler of HoopsWorld.com, who stated the Lakers weren't actively shopping Gasol because the market hadn't developed to the point where a good deal was available.
Given the recent losing streak, it's time to start working a little harder to find that market. Gasol should still have value around the league, and the Lakers need to find a forward better suited to thrive in Mike D'Antoni's offense.
The time for patience is over. The season's halfway point is right around the corner and the Lakers aren't anywhere close to matching preseason expectations.
It might be tough for the Lakers front office to accept after a busy offseason, but changes are needed before it's too late.