This week's NBA news has all the major free agents wooed by the Los Angeles Lakers going to other teams. The best the Lakers can do is trade for a center (Roy Hibbert of Indiana) who is slow, has no shot and rebounds poorly. He could bounce back from a bad year, he could suddenly click with the Lakers, but it's unlikely.
The Lakers aren't used to being snubbed. And while the sports world likes to blame Kobe Bryant, it's pretty clear to me that its the Laker management. The team has not been the same since baby Buss took over for his father. The elder Buss was universally respected, loved by his players (Magic Johnson for one revered him.) In the years that Jerry West was also in the front office, the Laker organization was the classiest, most astute and most powerful in the league.
Now that mantle has likely fallen to the San Antonio Spurs, who were able to take away free agent star power forward Aldridge. I have my doubts that Aldridge will work out on the Spurs, but if he does, it will be another indication of that organization's skill. He was a malcontent in Portland for no real reason, and if the Spurs can quell his jealousy of other players, it will signal to other stars that their organization and team ethic is for real.
In any case, top players making obscene amounts of money aren't necessarily following just the dollar signs or the major market endorsement possibilities. Whatever it is they are looking for, the Lakers don't have it. And it's not just prospects for winning, and it certainly is not playing with Kobe Bryant. Whatever the word is among players, they are being cautious and skeptical at best. This year's failures don't auger well, after last year's etc. The pattern is set, and top players aren't getting on the Buss.
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