From the impression given during the exit interviews, the Los Angeles Lakers seem to be leaning towards staying with the current roster next season if Dwight Howard will sign a contract extension. However, next season could be Kobe Bryant‘s last year before retirement and Steve Nash‘s last good year as he has shown signs of wear and tear since signing with the Lakers.
A while back, Mitch Kupchak announced that coach Mike D’Antoni would continue on as the head coach.
Basically, the Lakers are expecting different results with the same method. They are hoping to keep an expensive and collectively ineffective core group together and as a result, they will have to pay $85 million in luxury taxes.
Injuries are partly to blame, but the team still had poor defense and bad chemistry even when the entire squad was healthy. There were a few games where they were good as a collective group, but every team has a couple games where they play well.
Kupchak told ESPN during exit interviews that he is “hopeful” Howard will re-sign. Kupchak has a reason to be hopeful as he can offer more than any other general manager in the league. The Lakers can sign Howard for five years, $118 million max-level extension on July 1. But is it really necessary to keep Howard and Pau Gasol?
Howard and Gasol were very good in the front court together, and they’re one of the best passing big man duos in the league. But when a team has a $19 million power forward, do they really need a $20 million center? At some point, do two superstars begin to work against each other?
D’Antoni was unable to find a way to play Gasol, and he has become a much less effective player since D’Antoni took the coaching job. This stands true both before and after Gasol’s injuries. The Lakers went 13-7 when Gasol was sidelined with a right foot injury. However, before the injury, D’Antoni had Gasol coming off of the bench. D’Antoni put a $19 million a year player on the bench rather than figure out how to use him effectively. The only time Gasol really shined this season was once Bryant and Nash were injured and the Lakers became a front court centric team.