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The Los Angeles Lakers era of uncertainty

The Los Angeles Lakers look like a patron at an extreme water park slide standing on a Plexiglas floor and waiting for it to drop out from under them. The anxiety builds the longer the patron waits and that is reminiscent of what the 2014 Los Angeles Lakers and their fans are experiencing.

Guard - Forward Kobe Bryant
Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
The mamba at the 2014 Summer Television Critics Association meeting
Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

Are we discussing a series of mistakes for Jim Buss? Was it inevitable that the Lakers would essentially go into a down cycle? The purple and gold had a lot of salary cap space, but came up dry in their attempts to sign a top free agent. To make matters worse after extending two offers the Lakers lost Pau Gasol, one of their own without compensation.

The Lakers won the bidding process after Carlos Boozer was amnestied by the Bulls, but Boozer was a low-risk signing and is a player that does not deserve punch-line status. Despite several positives and obvious negatives the Lakers signing of veteran power forward Carlos Boozer was their low point in free agency due to the Lakers desire to land a bigger name.

There is no doubt that rookie power forward Julius Randle can learn a lot from a 12-year veteran. The Los Angeles Lakers just like the Boston Celtics and New York Yankees are all franchises that are tied, literally prisoners of brand. These teams are some of the most storied franchises in sports history, but times have changed. The NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement has hampered a quick turnaround for the purple and gold.

The NBA is still a winter league and even if the names and history of storied franchises is no longer a big enough lure weather is. If given the opportunity players would rather exit a plane in the average annual 75 – 57 degree weather of Los Angeles, CA or the 77 – 67 degree weather of Miami, FL as oppose to the brutal winter weather of the north east.

The Lakers are in a state of disarray, as close to starting from scratch as they’ve ever been. This is uncharted territory for the purple and gold. When you consider that in recent history the Lakers hired and later fired Mike Brown.

The Lakers decided not to re-sign former head coach Phil Jackson after firing Coach Mike Brown, disappointing and angering the fan base. Hired Mike D'Antoni and later fired him in less than two years although to surprise of many the Lakers wanted to sign D'Antoni to a long-term deal. 22 days into the month of July and the Los Angeles Lakers have yet to name a head coach.

Former Laker Byron Scott is the leader in the clubhouse to land the head coaching position, Scott interviewed three times for the position. What is the delay? It comes as no surprise that barring a miracle the Lakers will not compete for a championship in the NBA's Western Conference in 2014. The sticking point between Byron Scott and the Lakers front office is on a long-term deal (3-5 years) with the knowledge that it will take a while for the Lakers to return to a team annually competing for a championship.

The Lakers are in the process of building a roster with veterans and young talent. As of July 22nd the Lakers roster consists of: G-F Kobe Bryant G Steve Nash G Jeremy Lin G-F Xavier Henry G Nick Young G Jordan Clarkson F Carlos Boozer F Ed Davis F Jordan Hill F Julius Randle F Ryan Kelly F Wesley Johnson C Robert Sacre.

The Lakers have a crowded front court, although re-signing Wesley Johnson could solidify the small forward position, but it would benefit Kobe and the Lakers playing him at the three spot guarding small forwards to avoid having him chase other shooting guards through several screens. A lot depends on the health of Steve Nash the Lakers have to find out what he has left to offer, but if Nash can no longer be counted on Jeremy Lin steps in. The Lakers projected starting five: PG Steve Nash SG Xavier Henry SF Kobe Bryant PF Carlos Boozer C Jordan Hill

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