Congrats to the entire Laker family for a fabulous season, especially Dr Jerry and Buss generation two, Mitch Kupchak, Phil, and the entire team. As I said before the season, and frequently thereafter, the Lakers have the most talented and deepest team in the NBA, but being able to show that on the court does not necessarily follow. Remember the Dell Harris years?
Watching Kobe this season was amazing – seeing a great player improve his entire game to an incredible new level. Deserving much of the credit for the team’s success is the previously much-maligned Mitch Kupchak, who made key player moves putting the finishing touches on what did became a championship team.
Kobe, Mitch, Jerry, Jeannie, and Jimmie are going nowhere, but what about Phil? Jeannie said on the air today that his health is fine, that this leg problems of the past season are now resolved, and that she sees no reason why he won’t be return for the final season of his contract. This is great for two reasons: First, Phil is the best coach the NBA has ever seen. Period. It is still hard to forget the the 2004-5 season when Phil was retired for a year. Second, the rumored candidates that could replace him, from Brian Shaw to Byron Scott to Kurt Rambis are all sorely lacking in coaching experience, coaching ability, and/or additional qualities the Lakers demand, and need, if their outstanding success were to continue. Should Phil decide to leave, however, then the Lakers need to open the coffers and do their best to influence an experience and successful coach to move to LA, like they did with Phil. The ideal person that fits this mold would be Gregg Popovich.
On the court, the same type of critical questions are present, with the pending free agency of Lamar Odom and Trevor Ariza. The Lakers might be NBA champs without one or the other of these two, but probably not, and to return to that lofty perch next season virtually requires that both players be resigned. It’s time for the financial geniuses in Lakerdom to work out the details.
Finally, as an LA native who has lived in LA County his entire life, I am ashamed of the idiots and jerks who have nothing better to do with their sorry lives than celebrate victory by destroying property