Enough time's passed for the humiliation pain of the demolition... crushing... hammering... ummm... 'loss' to subside... at least, some what.
Time to look towards the future. And the first thing I'm going to do is express surprise.
Surprise that the number of Lakerfans who are ready to throw Andrew Bynum under the bus.
That's not to downplay what he did, the hit he put on JJ Barea was pretty damning, especially when seen through the lens of him having committed similar fouls on Gerald Wallace and Michael Beasley. But if were to define who 23 year olds are based on the worst they do, then pretty much every 23 year old would get our condemnation.
And aggression... I like that Bynum's aggressive. I don't like the way that aggression sometimes manifests itself.
Due to that unfettered aggression on display in game 4 of the Western Conference Semi-Finals, there's a very large element within Lakerland calling for the trade of the Lakers young center - both regular fans and legends alike. Most notably, Magic Johnson called for a blow-up of the roster.
"He's probably going to have to blow this team up after the season if the Lakers lose this series because you have to come back with some fresh faces. You have to pick between the two big men with which one you keep and then you trade the other one."I definitely do not agree with this. Unless LA can somehow amazingly land Dwight Howard, there's no way on earth LA should entertain moving Bynum, or Pau Gasol.
Even looking at potential Howard deals is an exercise fraught with futility. No way on earth Orlando make any moves until the dust settles on a new CBA, and even then: the Magic will be looking to move some pretty awful contracts alongside any outward movement of Dwight's papers.
Even just looking at the personnel the Lakers have, making any headline deals is going to be tough - especially going into a off-season with uncertainty as to what the landscape even is. No-one knows what the parameters of the off-season game are even going to look like. Making blanket statements as to "blowing up a roster" is a bit foolhardy... respect for Magic not withstanding.
I'm not even sure the roster requires any major changes at all. They've won the past two titles, competing for the last three. Admittedly, the team didn't perform to expectations, but the sting of the way they exited this season should provide some ample fuel for the competitive fires. LA could definitely look at working something around the point (not necessarily an elite point per se), but nothing should involve trading any of the key guys any time soon.
Certainly not Andrew Bynum.
Mitch Kupchak and Jim/Jerry Buss have proven themselves - over the years - to be pretty astute operators. I cannot see them biting on any of the inevitable queries as to Bynum's availability.
Why should they? Bynum was considered one helluva commodity over the past few off-seasons. This off-season (albeit, occurring earlier than the past 3 years), he comes into the summer having had the best playoffs of his young career, and is completely healthy - for the first time since becoming a regular starter.
And he's hungry.
His comments in regards to getting more of the ball were a good sign that a young guy wants to get better... and whilst Kobe Bryant's response was as expected,
"Ultimately, he'll have to fall in line. Because I'm gonna shoot the ball. We all know that. Pau is going to get his touches. He's No. 2. And then Andrew will have to fall in line."
Bryant & Gasol will have to step it up a bit - because what I saw post the All Star break and for the duration of the playoffs would be indicative of Bynum deserving a larger slice of that particular pie.
At any stage of the game (as in the off-season trade game), it's wrong to deal a player on a knee-jerk reaction.
This isn't the first time Andrew Bynum has been at the center of a controversy with the fanbase (and a certain superstar) wishing he was traded - not that long ago there was the Jason Kidd deal from the New Jersey Nets that fell through because of LA's reluctance to include Bynum in the deal.
If the LA front office wouldn't trade him then, why the hell would they do so now when he's so close to looking like the player we all hoped he'd be?
Thankfully, Kupchak & co. don't have the trigger-fingers some others do.
Absolutely agree with you! Howard should be the only player you trade Bynum for, if need be, but even Andrew for Dwight has its own caveat when you consider that he's miles ahead of Howard offensively and is still getting better. Plus, is there any other big outside of Howard other than Andrew who can intimidate the opposing team in the paint like Dwight?
I don't agree with Kobe that Bynum should be No. 3. I think Andrew has improved enough and certainly has earned the right to be No. 2b. Besides, doesn't Bynum get a mismatch each game more than Gasol?
@TPGBlog Agreed on the mismatches. I think the "food chain" should be decided on a game-to-game basis.
Hell, there were games post the All Star break this season where AB was at the very top of that ladder. Kid's 23, he's only gonna get better.