Normally, it has been other teams scrambling to make moves at the trade deadline in hopes of matching up with the Los Angeles Lakers.
However, that trend may change this Thursday.
The Los Angeles Lakers find themselves in a situation that has been unfamiliar to them since the day that Pau Gasol arrived.
A cloud of trade speculation is now hanging over the Lakers and with each loss, that cloud grew bigger and bigger.
There certainly is cause for concern—the Lakers’ play has been mediocre, despite playing the third easiest schedule in the league so far.
Now, this organization has all of a sudden found itself at a crossroads.
Does a trade need to be made to re-energize this team? Or is it better to stand pat and not risk team chemistry?
Kupchak appears intent on keeping this team together.
As the Lakers’ GM takes a step back and evaluates what’s out there on the market—Kupchak will come to the realization that the Lakers roster that has the best chance to win this year’s title is the one standing right before him.
This is a team that has admitted on more than one occasion that they lack focus from game to game.
Even Bryant has been caught with the “Is it the playoffs yet?” expression on his face from time to time this season.
It is no secret that the Lakers have been underwhelming this year by their standards—after finishing first place in the Western Conference for the previous three seasons.
But take a step back and examine the Lakers amid the chaos. There is nothing to worry about and no trade needs to be made.
There is arguably no team better built for the postseason than the team from Hollywood.
A team that features the strength of Andrew Bynum, the cleverness and skill of Pau Gasol, the versatility of Lamar Odom and the toughness and clutch play of Derek Fisher.
And there is some guy named Kobe Bryant who still dons the purple and gold.
How can anyone doubt him during the postseason?
This is a man who lives for the big stage, whose competitive spirit willed the Lakers to a championship last year.
The Lakers have a daunting size advantage in the low-post and a tremendous length advantage on the perimeter. In the playoffs, where the tempo of the game slows down, the Lakers will have the easiest time getting easy baskets in their half-court offense.
The whole ordeal in Los Angeles is eerily similar to what last year’s Celtics went through.
And standing pat at the trade deadline will be just what the Lakers need to galvanize them, as they move forward to the final 25 games of the season.