The Los Angeles Lakers are putting the finishing touches on a roster that is a lot less formidable than the team's front office had hoped for. Nonetheless, the effort to put out a strong group was made.
The attempts to lure Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James and to re-sign Pau Gasol didn't go unnoticed by the face of the franchise. Per ESPN's Ramona Shelburne, Kobe Bryant is telling general manager Mitch Kupchak: good job, good effort.
Kobe: "I can sit here and tell you with 100 percent honesty that I'm happy with the effort the organization put forward this summer"— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) July 18, 2014
The "pieces" Bryant is referring to are veteran and amnestied power forward Carlos Boozer, as well as Ryan Kelly, Xavier Henry and Wesley Johnson, with whom the Lakers came to terms on Saturday, per Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times.
These aren't exactly moves that will leave the San Antonio Spurs shaking in their boots, but they do represent exactly what Bryant said: effort.
Behind Bryant, the Lakers will play hard and have their moments with promising rookie big man Julius Randle improving as the season progresses. He talks about his NBA Summer League exploits here.
But the Lakers won't make the playoffs, and considering the amount of games the team will play against the likes of the Los Angeles Clippers, Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, Spurs and the rest of the West's elite, the Lakers may not even finish with a .500 record.
It's cold, but it's the truth.
Who's Going to Coach This Team?
This may sound a bit backward, but now that the roster has been all but finalized, shouldn't a head coach be named sometime soon?
Byron Scott has to lead the league in interviews at this point. Per Shelburne, the team met again with Scott on July 16. It's hard to imagine what else there is to discuss.
Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss will meet w/ Byron Scott again tomorrow, according to sources.— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) July 16, 2014
Kobe "I think Mitch has responded quite efficiently (from missing on Melo/Pau) by picking up some of the pieces he has"— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) July 18, 2014
Scott played 11 of his 14 pro seasons with the Lakers, so Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak know him pretty well. He and Bryant have a good relationship, and the Mamba endorsed him.
The 53-year-old's coaching resume is hit and miss. He's coached his share of bad teams, but when he's had talent, his teams have won. Scott led the New Jersey Nets to back-to-back NBA Finals in 2002 and 2003. In fact, the Nets lost to Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant's Lakers in the first of those two trips to the Finals.
The Lakers know what they are getting if they hire Scott, and at this point, it doesn't appear that there are a lot of better options available.
For the sake of stability and closure to an offseason of uncertainty, the team should just make the move.