It is almost over for Kobe Bryant. There are no more championship rings in his future. I wish that he could get at least one more, since it is so important to him. Sad to say, but that will not happen. It appears that Bryant may be able to play at a high level, for at least three more years. However, it also seems to me that it will take at least five years to rebuild the Lakers into a solid contender.
The team is now an awkward collection of mostly mediocre athletes. They are, for the most part, good people, who are doing the best that they can. We can't blame them if they just don't have the talent, because they would do better if they could. Building a winning team in today's world with Salary Caps, and other restrictions is not easy. A team cannot just go out and hire the best players by giving them the highest salaries. So, they have to manage their opportunities very carefully, and they have to avoid making big mistakes in personnel selection.
Ironically, Bryant caused some of this problem himself, when he demanded that the Lakers either win another championship, or trade him to a team that could. They reacted by adding veteran players to their roster. They got Dwight Howard, but he was not a good fit. They got Steve Nash, who was a truly great player, but whose current health issues may soon end his career. They have Mike D'Antoni as their head coach, and he does his best work with young teams that have both speed and stamina. The problem with that approach is that Bryant, Gasol, and Nash are all in their late 30s and they can't do that anymore.
Many of the Fans of the Lakers are demanding that they win a championship every year. Some of them just don't realize that it is not possible. They do not know that part of being a real fan is the suffering that you experience when your team is losing. Then, when they win, the victories are so much sweeter.
At this point, the Lakers are hoping to get a new superstar in the next NBA Draft. If that happens, then they may be able to sign Kevin Love and get back into championship contention. Because of Bryant, the Lakers could not do what the Celtics did. They traded their aging superstars to another team in order to get well under the salary cap. Then, they hired a young coach with a four-year contract, with the hope that he would lose most of the games this year. That means that they will have a better chance of getting the next Superstar in the NBA Draft.
However, even the best laid plans don't always work. This young coach with several young players was supposed to lose, lose, and lose. However, to the shock and dismay of his team's management, they are winning more games than was expected. This is diminishing the probability of them getting one of the best players in the Draft. The Celtic Fans are very knowledgeable about basketball, and they are willing to put up with one bad year, in the hope that that will be followed by five or six great ones. Most of the Fans of the Lakers are not that sophisticated.
David Shaw, the African American Head Coach of the Stanford Football Team is on the short list of candidates to become the new head football coach of the University of Texas. The salary for that job is reported to be around $7.5 million per year, plus additional benefits. The school will not announce its selection until all of the Bowl Games have been played. Shaw has proven to be an elite college football coach, and he has the polish and demeanor that is expected of the well-educated graduates of Stanford.