What if they started sharing players, too?
Imagine some twisted, parallel universe where Lakers apprentice owner Jim Buss and contentious Clippers owner Donald Sterling surrender arms and unite forces to build a Los Angeles mega-team capable of mass destruction across the league.
Ignore the existing salary structures, league restrictions, payroll issues and any real world impediments to this combination and let's indulge in the creation of a Los Angeles mega-team.
In this long, strange trip towards a Los Angeles mega-team, it's important we figure out a few key issues.
For starters, what will the team be called?
Conventional amalgamation says we should arrive at something like the "Clakers," "Lippers," or anything in between.
Research polls and common sense will tell you that the chant for the "Fightin' Lippers!" will not go over well in Los Angeles.
Thusly, names will not be changed.
What will the team look like, then?
Like a corporate giant acquiring a smaller rival, the Lakers will be absorbing the Clipper roster in this theoretical transaction and will thus retain their brand and namesake.
Plus, if history is any indication, Donald Sterling will be far too eager to sell off his team so long as he's making money.
Lakers it is.
The battle for stardom between LA's competing superstars Blake Griffin and Kobe Bryant has ended in a cease-fire, and a truce for the ages has begun.
Blake Griffin—the Poster Child—is on the Lakers; the Blake Show is on the Lake Show.
The heavens have parted, the sun is shining, and Blake Griffin plays in a Laker uniform.
Los Angelenos rejoice as the two titans that dominate the local basketball scene have forged a holy alliance primed for sheer domination.
Blake's thunderous jams and Kobe's fiery intensity dazzle basketball fans night-in and night-out.
In a league of superstars, the Blake Show-Lake Show is completely glittered with gold. Just look at this roster..
C: Andrew Bynum/DeAndre Jordan/Chris Kaman
PF: Blake Griffin/Pau Gasol/Lamar Odom
SF: Ron Artest/Al-Farouq Aminu
SG: Kobe Bryant/Eric Gordon
PG: Eric Bledsoe/Derek Fisher/Randy Foye
Youth. Athletic talent. Veteran presence. Championship mettle—the lineup combinations and possibilities are staggering.
Front lines of Bynum, DeAndre, Pau, Lamar and Blake Griffin with back lines of Kobe, Gordon and Eric Bledsoe definitely make for some exciting basketball.
And, as evidenced by this snapshot, fictional celebrities, such as Jack from the fast food chain Jack in the Box, regularly attend mega-Laker games in this imaginary world (not too different from the current attendees at Laker games).
With this kind of roster, is coaching really necessary?
Rest assured that president of the NBA Players Association Derek Fisher will keep this mega-locker room orderly and together.
And Kobe Bryant can of course handle the substitutions and in-game calls during play.
So why not trot out Los Angeles' most recognizable basketball fan to don the title of coach for this new mega-squad?
This—of course—is the reputable, acclaimed, and undeniable Jack Nicholson.
The mega-team needs a mega-star as coach. Jack certainly earns this spot.
A city of 10 million residents and millions of other Laker/Clipper fans from around the world would unite to form a feverish show of fan support.
The Lakers would bring their long-time loyalists and smattering of celebrities to the table.
The Clippers would bring their eternally optimistic and crazy diehard fans to the fray.
Court-side at a Los Angeles mega-team game might look a little something like the Cantina from Star Wars, or the frenzy that accompanied the 2011 NBA All-Star Game in Los Angeles this past February (pictured).
Of course, you'll have traditionalists on both sides who can't stand the thought of combining their team with crosstown rivals and will inevitably fall off the mega-team bandwagon.
Good riddance—the mega Los Angeles team is still the hottest thing in basketball.
The fictional Los Angeles mega-team will finish the 2011-2012 NBA season with the league's best record, possibly eclipsing the all-time record set by Michael Jordan's 1996 Chicago Bulls team of 72-10.
Led by Blake Griffin, Kobe Bryant and a re-energized fan base, the Los Angeles mega-team storms through the Western Conference, returning the favor from last year and sweeping the Dallas Mavericks in the Western Conference Finals.
In the NBA Finals, the Los Angeles mega-team will face the other mega-team from the East—the Miami Heat—in seven hard-fought games.
The mega Lakers ultimately defeat LeBron, Wade & Co. on an unbelievable Kobe-to-Blake alley-oop reminiscent of the Kobe-to-Shaq epic 'oop in the 2000 Western Conference Finals.
Kobe Bryant and Blake Griffin share NBA Finals co-MVP honors.
And now back to reality:
- The Lakers are $33 million over the salary cap.
- The Clippers exercised their option on Blake Griffin, keeping him a Clipper through 2013-2014.
- The NBA is mired in a lockout amongst league owners and players.
- There is no indication we'll even have an NBA season next year.
How's that for a cold splash of water to the face.
Oh well, at least the mega-team mega-journey was fun while it lasted. Time to go back to work on that new collective bargaining agreement.