The Los Angeles Lakers have not had an ideal season, but the team has shown some signs of life as it limps towards the finish line. They have won two straight games despite a myriad of injuries and lineup issues.
It is safe to say that the 2014-15 Lakers will not resemble the group currently trying to close out the current campaign on a high note, but it is still worthwhile to follow along with this cast of characters to see if they can defy expectations and play spoiler.
Let’s take a closer look at the latest news and most intriguing buzz surrounding the Lakers right now.
Chris Kaman Finally Plays, Still Not Happy
Despite all suffering through a miserable season, no player on the Los Angeles roster is having a less enjoyable time than Chris Kaman. The big man has been sparsely used and clashed with head coach Mike D’Antoni on numerous occasions this season, leading to the two not even speaking in recent weeks.
Even with this falling out, Kaman actually managed to get on the floor Tuesday night in what would eventually be a major blowout victory against the New York Knicks.
Kaman, who had not played since Feb. 28, shook off the rust to come through with 13 points, nine rebounds and three assists in 23 minutes as a starter. While he finally did get some playing time and performed well, the 31-year-old vented after the game.
According to Dave McMenamin of ESPN Los Angeles, Kaman revealed he had not spoken to D’Antoni in three weeks and had this to say about his system:
I won't knock the style of play, because I think it's worked for Coach in the past and he's had some teams with great success [to show] for it. I just think sometimes when you have certain players that can really play the game of basketball, you cater to their style. But I don't think that's always the case. But also as the head coach, that's a decision you make based on the tools you've been given and it's his job to do the best he can with it.
Kevin Ding of Bleacher Report noted that Kaman still hasn’t spoken to D’Antoni and found out he was starting when the lineup was posted:
Chris Kaman said he hasn't talked to Mike D'Antoni in 3 weeks--and still really hasn't, finding out he's starting tonight only by lineups.— KEVIN DING (@KevinDing) March 26, 2014
Kaman is playing out the remainder of a one-year, $3.183 million contract (via Spotrac) he signed this past offseason. While his numbers aren’t terrible—10.0 points, 5.7 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.1 blocks per game—there is little likelihood he remains with the organization beyond the summer.
Ding reported that Kaman called 2013-14 “by far” his toughest season:
Asked if this has been his toughest NBA season, Kaman said: "By far. Tenfold. ... It's unprecedented for me."— KEVIN DING (@KevinDing) March 26, 2014
The 11-year veteran will likely bolt for greener pastures and finish out his career with another club after a disastrous tenure in Los Angeles.
Is there any chance the Lakers retain Kaman?
Expect him to do a little more research before joining with a new team in the coming offseason, however, as he admitted it was a mistake to not look into the Lakers before signing, as per McMenamin: "My bad on my part not doing due diligence enough to look into a situation better and style of play and that kind of thing.”
Let’s take a look at another player who might just be doing a bit of research himself on potential suitors in a few months.
Pau Gasol Diagnosed with Vertigo
Gasol has been one of the few bright spots this year for the Lakers, fighting off a rough start to the season to average 17.5 points, 9.8 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.5 blocks per game.
However, the big man was forced to sit out the second half of Sunday’s win against the Orlando Magic and all of Tuesday night against the Knicks due to an uncommon ailment known as vertigo.
According to Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times, an MRI of Gasol’s head came back normal after he suffered from dizziness and nausea Sunday evening. He eventually headed to the hospital for an overnight stay.
Doctors discovered that vertigo is the likely cause of the symptoms and can be caused by dysfunction in the inner ear. Gasol will likely know more soon, however, as he plans to see an expert.
As per McMenamin, Gasol is seeing an ear, nose and throat specialist on Wednesday. It will be determined then if the 33-year-old can make the road trip to play back-to-back games against the Milwaukee Bucks and Minnesota Timberwolves Thursday and Friday.
Pau Gasol will again see an ear, nose & throat specialist Wednesday morning to determine if he will make the MIL-MIN trip— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) March 26, 2014
Gasol thanked all the fans concerned about his health via Twitter:
While I continue to recover at the hospital, your messages of support and well wishes are giving strength. Thanks so much to all of you.— Pau Gasol (@paugasol) March 24, 2014
Hopefully the Spaniard can get back on the hardwood sooner than later, as the Lakers need him to sustain this small run of success they have found.
With his contract expiring after this season, Gasol has just a few games left to show he still has plenty in the tank and can be a major contributor in 2014-15 and beyond.