74 Reasons to Get Excited for the 74th NBA Season: Reason 72

Reason #72: Will the Los Angeles Lakers bounce back?

After a premature exit to the eventual world champion Dallas Mavericks in a four-game sweep, there are questions regarding the future of the Los Angeles Lakers. LA’s post season run was short-lived, after having some initial problems against the New Orleans Hornets in Round 1 (although taking that series in six games) and in the conference semifinals against Dallas. Remember how that series ended? – the 36-point blowout and Andrew Bynum’s bitter play leading to his ejection. Uncharacteristic for such a high-class organization. And how about the Pau Gasol ‘soft’ characterizations becoming alive once again for his below average postseason play. Rumors have floated around about possibly shipping Gasol, Bynum and Lamar Odom. Ron Artest’s quest to legally change his name to Metta Word Peace could bring the wrong type of attention to this franchise. Certainly a lot of baggage surrounding this team. However, you have to believe Kobe Bryant won’t like to go out like this and will rally his troops in LA. Phil Jackson’s departure from LA shakes things up a bit, but Mike Brown will do fine handling the duties after replacing the Zen Master. After a grueling past two seasons in which LA captured NBA titles in 2008-09 and 2009-10, the Lakers now have time to rest and regroup heading into next season. Shannon Brown has recently opted out of his contract, and besides Theo Ratliff and Joe Smith (who are unrestricted free agents this season), the Lakers will return the rest of their lineup next season in hopes of adding championship #17 to the rafters at Staples Center.

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