For those in the scientific community, it is known that what truly determine the success or failure of an experiment are the long-term results of it. Not only is the quality of the outcome reviewed, but the longevity of it as well.
The same can be said about the Los Angeles Lakers' current superstar experiment. With the 2012-13 season rapidly coming to a close, the offseason will soon return, and with it, the always-intriguing speculation of the potential moves each team will make. In the Lakers' case, one can't help but assume that the new amnesty clause may come into play.
While it would be convenient to utilize the amnesty clause and dispose of some issues that have been affecting the team, what will determine the success of the Lakers' newest concept will be its consistency.
One season is clearly not enough to fully prove that five All-Stars can get their act together, and to cut any of those stars as a result of the amnesty clause would be absolutely foolish.
Let's get the obvious out of the way: Kobe Bryant is going nowhere, so get that illusion out of your head. Now let's look at the more ideal possibilities.
Pau Gasol is seen by many as dead weight at this point. It would be easy to make the argument that Gasol's best years are now behind him and to get rid of him would be a step in the right direction. However, the fact that he was unable to truly produce due to injury this season proves to be the exact reason to justify keeping him around.
Would the Lakers benefit from cutting Pau Gasol?
Before this season, Gasol was playing high-quality basketball, and like anyone else that gets hurt, he has not been able to recover since he was initially hurt. To get rid of him now would be a disservice to what he can still do for L.A.
If cutting Gasol turns out to be absolutely necessary, the only reasonable move would be to cut him to obtain some younger talent or to perhaps free up some cap space to try to keep Dwight Howard, but even then, the change would not be that drastic.
And speaking of D12, cutting him would be absolutely counterproductive. The name of the game this offseason is "Keep Dwight Happy," and to do so, all resources must be exhausted to ensure he will stay in purple and gold for years to come.
Cutting Dwight would not only mean that the Lakers would lose the potential face of the franchise once the Black Mamba decides to call it a career, but they would lose their most valuable trade asset. In the event that L.A. decides to go in a different direction in the future, having a superstar like Howard would greatly play in the team's favor when exploring the trade block. No matter how you slice it, the Lakers would benefit from keeping Superman around.
To cut other players like Steve Nash or Metta World Peace would be just as nonsensical. Both players have produced fairly well and can still prove to be useful for the team's success.
While cutting talent to free cap space and avoid paying that pesky luxury tax is always a prime choice for any team, the Lakers are fine where they're at. The team will be able to stay afloat financially even after all expenses are paid, and to keep things the way they are will be a fruitful investment in the long run.
Ultimately, the Lakers, like any other business, are just looking for a good return on their investment.