A year ago today the fortunes of both the Los Angeles Lakers and the Los Angeles Clippers changed for the foreseeable future. On December 12th, 2011 the Lakers had agreed in principle with the New Orleans Hornets and Houston Rockets on a blockbuster trade that would’ve brought Chris Paul to the Lakers.
After a few hours, NBA commissioner David Stern vetoed the trade, citing “basketball reasons” as the basis for his decision. Two days later the Clippers and Hornets complete a trade that landed Paul on Los Angeles’ ‘other’ team, and since that moment the two teams that share the same building have never been the same.
The Lakers have been in scramble mode ever since that botched trade has gone down. Pau Gasol hasn’t been as effective since that whole debacle went down and he is supposed to be a major contributor for the team. The Lakers also ended up trading Lamar Odom, who was a major contributor off the bench for the team.
Also the Lakers were bringing in a new coach with a totally different philosophy that they were used to in Mike Brown. All in all it was a lot of change in a short period of time and to make matters worse the NBA season was shortened to 66 games last season due to the lockout.
The Lakers go from potentially having Paul start for them to Derek Fisher starting, who was busy during the lockout fighting with the league.
Even though the Lakers put together a solid season, we all knew it wasn’t a championship roster. Too many glaring holes, too much dependency on Kobe Bryant and not enough bench production led to a second round elimination.
Meanwhile the Clippers enjoyed their best season in history with the addition of Paul. The Clippers were finally relevant after all these years and all it took was one trade for a superstar player. Even though the Clippers were eliminated in the second round of the playoffs as well the team still had more energy and buzz around them than ever before.
In the summer the Lakers try to replace the gap that was created by the botched trade of Paul and trade for Steve Nash. Even though Nash is 38 he was still playing at a high level. Everyone including myself thought that would be a great edition going into the season.
In the second game of the season Nash breaks his leg and the point guard woes continue. The Lakers have used three other point guards this season and they haven’t been effective as they have needed to be. Right now the Lakers are struggling at 9-14 and the Clippers are in the middle of an eight game winning streak and have the look of a serious contender.
The trade that got vetoed took the Lakers soul. It’s been a year later and the team still hasn’t recovered. I know that they have added Nash and also Dwight Howard but this team hasn’t been the same since. They’re stuck with Gasol, who hasn’t been the same player since this who ordeal happened and also his heavy contract.
Hopefully the Lakers can find a way to get back to the dominate team they once were. At the moment it is not looking good and they are lost. A franchise that is always known for staying ahead of the league is now all of a sudden in the middle of the pack. The only bright side is that Andrew Bynum is in not the Lakers problem anymore.