Amidst a season filled with losses and disappointment, Kobe Bryant is still looking to make more history. He already set the all-time mark for most misses in a career earlier this year, but is also on the fringe of breaking several other records held by the player he has always been compared to: Michael Jordan.
Before the New Year, the Lakers’ superstar should pass Jordan’s 32,292 career points, replacing him as the third highest scorer of all-time. Kobe is also looking to usurp M.J.’s title as the oldest player ever to win the scoring title; Jordan averaged 28.7 points at 35 while Kobe currently leads the league with 26.7 at 36.
Stop the presses, and stop laughing.
The Lakers may have lost Tuesday night to the Memphis Grizzlies, but their performance was a worthy follow-up to a convincing win two nights ago against the Charlotte Hornets. They parlayed that 107-92 victory, keyed by a huge third-quarter rally, into a valiant assault on the league’s best home team. And they nearly won.
The game was tight until, with 6:50 remaining in the fourth, the Grizzlies opened up a 17-point lead.
You’re forgiven for suffering pangs of deja vu. This Lakers team has displayed an early-season predilection for folding late.
In 2008, the Memphis Grizzlies traded Pau Gasol to the Los Angeles Lakers for perennial punchline KWAMAY Brown (to paraphrase Stephen A.) and a bag of peanuts.
The deal was universally panned. Clearly the deck was stacked in favor of the big-market juggernaut. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich gave voice to the collective disgust emanating from the rest of the league:
“What they did in Memphis is beyond comprehension,” said Popovich. “There should be a trade committee that can scratch all trades that make no sense. I just wish I had been on a trade committee that oversees NBA trades. I’d like to elect myself to that committee. I would have voted no to the L.A. trade.”
Magic. Kareem. Shaq. Kobe. Jeremy Lin?
As the days pass, the free agent market is slowly drying up. James, Anthony, Bosh, and Nowitzki have already figured out their plans for the 2014-15 season, Wade looks ready to re-up in Miami, and Gasol looks like he’s headed to Chi-Town.
But where are the Los Angeles Lakers? Well, they made some moves after the King announced he was going home, but these aren’t the marquee moves you Lakers fans are used to seeing (yes, I’m a Clippers fan). Rather, they made an array of smaller moves that seem to reveal the front office’s strategy going forward: a patient rebuild.
With only Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, and Robert Sacre under contract for the upcoming season, the Lakers have a lot of work to do. So let’s break down the recent deals made by Mitch Kupchak, Jim Buss & Co.: