This article will look at the Los Angeles Lakers' biggest distractions heading into next season.
With the team coming off an ugly exit from the playoffs, in addition to trying to adjust to life after Phil Jackson, there could be more distractions in Los Angeles next season than everyone is accustomed to.
So, let’s take a look at what could be keeping the Lakers from focusing on hoisting the Larry O’Brien Trophy again.
In his two seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers, Ron Artest has been a model citizen, becoming an advocate for mental health in the process.
But shortly after the Lakers were eliminated from the playoffs, Artest announced he would be changing his name to "Metta World Peace." Also, Artest has been rumored as a participant on "Dancing with the Stars."
Ultimately, the odds of these things—or anything else Artest does in the future—causing any real distractions are slim. But the team can’t afford any distractions in its attempt to get back to the NBA Finals, especially from a player coming off what was arguably his worst professional season.
The hiring of Mike Brown as head coach, which some considered to be a surprising selection, could be an indication owner Jerry Buss and his son, team executive Jim Buss, want to show they have completely turned the page on the Phil Jackson era and now have complete reign of the team.
After all, it was assumed for years that Brian Shaw would succeed Jackson as head coach after serving as his primary assistant the last several seasons.
If my assumption is correct, and the Buss family is trying to “personalize” the team more, can we expect more questionable transactions in the future?
Most seasons Phil Jackson was coaching the Los Angeles Lakers—with the exception of 2006 and 2007—the team was expected to win a championship.
That means Mike Brown enters his first season as coach of the Lakers with immense pressure on his shoulders. Unless the team dominates the entire season, fans, media and maybe even—hopefully not—members of the team will question Brown’s ability to coach such a high-profile team.
Rumblings of Kobe Bryant’s play declining due to age and injury have not been uncommon in Los Angeles the last couple of seasons.
Whether they are over-exaggerated or not is debatable.
But don’t expect the talk to stop. After all, Bryant is not getting any younger and he received an experimental procedure this summer in Germany in hopes of helping his ailing right knee, which should be a popular topic of discussion once the season starts.
I don’t know if I speak for all Lakers fans, but I am dreading nothing more than a season filled with “Is Kobe too old to lead the Lakers to a championship?” conversations.
In the midst of the Los Angeles Lakers’ playoff meltdown last spring, people began talking about the Lakers making a trade to acquire Dwight Howard during the offseason.
While the lockout has stymied any trade talks, don’t expect them to subside when basketball does resume, especially with Howard becoming a free agent following next season.
Considering the team is coming off a disappointing finish to last season and has a new coach to get acclimated to, a season full of Dwight Howard rumors will just add extra, unnecessary distractions.