With the Lakers' season now less than a month away, it's time to start analyzing and deciphering the abundance of new variables that have been added to the Los Angeles mixer.
The most obvious one, although it has been recently overshadowed by the lockout, is the hiring of Mike Brown. With Brown's taking of the reigns from arguably the greatest coach in NBA history comes high expectations, little patience, and a significant amount of scrutiny.
He has assembled a new cast of coaches and has been outspoken about his plan for a Spurs-esque offensive system built around two, substantial and talented bigs, similar to the San Antonio duo back in the day of Duncan and Robinson. Quite obviously, Gasol and Bynum are supposed to be the centerpieces of this new offense, although adjustments will likely be made when and where necessary.
Most notably missing from the above offensive equation is one "Black Mamba." Brown claims that he has a prospective use for the Lakers' superstar, although, as you can imagine, fans and analysts are skeptical of Kobe's effectiveness and productivity in this new system.
In addition to Bryant, Gasol, Bynum, and Odom, the Lakers have drafted guards Andrew Goudelock and Darius Morris, although they have not yet been signed, and have returned role players Derek Fisher, Matt Barnes, Derrick Caracter, Devin Ebanks, Steve Blake, Trey Johnson, Luke Walton and the newly named Metta World Peace.
The Lakers, boasting a payroll north of 90 million, will be looking to mix up the roster scene and shed some salaries, most likely starting with the waiving of Luke Walton through the use of the Amnesty Clause. Ties to both Chris Paul and Dwight Howard have been made through the grapevine, which could be the Lakers' big move if all goes well. Shannon Brown, the Lakers' back-up shooting guard last season, will most likely sign elsewhere for next season, prompting potential playing time for Trey Johnson, Darius Morris, and Andrew Goudelock.