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Can The Lakers Return To Glory

Lakers Tickets for all games

LAKESHOW

No, we’ll not be talking about the Gerard Butler movie here, although there are some similarities. What we’ll be talking about is the Ugly Truth the entire Los Angeles Lakers nation is currently facing. Even those who didn’t want to admit the severity of the bad – I mean really bad – situation the team is currently in, they got slapped in the face after the humiliating loss to the Los Angeles Clippers.

In a season where the Los Angeles Lakers were expected to make the playoffs or at least stay within the playoff race, they recorded the worst loss in their franchise history since 1947, the year the team was founded. That’s 67 years ago. And the most hurtful fact that this devastating 48-point loss came inside the Staples Center, against the Lakers’ city-rivals, Los Angeles Clippers, in a game which lots of Lakers fans had the bad luck to attend to.

The General Manager of the Lakers, Mitch Kupchak, watched the entire game from inside the arena and the look on his face said it all. Many times the camera caught his reactions, as the Clips routed their opponents piece by piece. If I were the General Manager of the team, I would have fired the Head Coach already. Maybe I would have fired myself, too, all the players, the front office team, the secretary and those guys distributing Lakers’ flyers outside the Staples Center. Yes I know, I am being excessive, but come on. I am not a fan of destructive solutions but if you are a Lakers fan, you have to look reality into the eye.

What do the Lakers have?

A 35-year old superstar, in Kobe Bryant, who has stayed out in all but six games since last April. You also have a 40-year old Steve Nash, who is in the books for $9.7 million next season, when he will be, oh my god, are you ready for this, 41 freaking years old. And he might not be able to dress up in a single game. Just for your note, the payroll of the entire Lakers team this season is around $77 million. You have a fading – or already faded – star in Pau Gasol, whose contract is expiring this summer.

Thankfully, the team has a first-round pick in the upcoming draft, which includes a bunch of potential superstars, as reported, but they don’t have a second-round one. For 2015, the Lakers will have their first-round pick, if it within the top 5 spots, but if it’s not, it will go to the Phoenix Suns. In addition, the Lakers have a bunch of youngsters or role players in their roster, most of them newcomers.

Literally, those players have zero chances to turn things around, not even next season.
Finally, the worst thing of all might be the fact that the team has no plan for the future. Even if Kobe gets back healthy next season, the team has low to zero chances of adding another superstar, one that can change the course of the franchise.

So what the Ugly Truth for the Lakers is exactly this, the situation the team is into, the hole they have fallen into and up to now, they don’t seem to be able to find a way out. Thankfully, the season is closing to its end, about one month is left. Then the Lakers will have the time to sit back, ease off the pain and try to find a (magical) solution.Chris Michaels

The Staples Center

Standing tall outside on the Star Plaza are statues of Los Angeles sports heroes Magic Johnson, Wayne Gretzky, Oscar De La Hoya, Lakers broadcaster Chick Hearn, and, most recently, Jerry West, the literal “icon” for the National Basketball Association. Today five major sports teams call the Staples Center home, including the Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers of the NBA, the WNBA L.A. Sparks, the NHL’s L.A. Kings, and now the NBA D-League’s L.A. D-Fenders. Previously, before the team’s dissolution, the AFL’s L.A. Avengers played at the Staples Center as well. The Center was constructed in just under a year, from 1998-1999, by the Staples corporation. There was some controversy regarding its founding, as the Los Angeles Times Magazine devoted an entire issue in October of 1999 to the opening of the giant new sports arena. The Times were discovered to be a “founding partner” of the Center in exchange for a hefty profit-share, free advertising, and other goodies. The question was raised: what is the relationship between struggling print-media outlets and advertising sources that lead to “profit-sharing”? 300 workers from the Times itself signed a petition in protest later that year, but little was ever done about it and the issue has nearly been forgotten.

Aside of its controversial founding, the Center has gone on to easily recover the $375 million dollar cost of construction. It has also been discovered that the L.A. Times was one of 12 profit sharing companies involved in the founding. In fact, the Center makes so much money per event that it has been quite a boon for the local community. Almost nightly it can house up to 19,000 fans with an average ticket price of well over $60. The Center recently got exposure in the indie flick Drive starring Ryan Gosling, where, during a heist of some kind, uses traffic from the aftermath of a Clipper game to disguise his getaway. With over 250 events year-round and more than 4 million visitors, the Staples Center is a fixture for the Greater L.A. area.

More recently, the Center has become part of its parent company’s, Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG), L.A. Live complex. Located in downtown Los Angeles, the Live complex is nearly 6 million square feet of Los Angeles entertainment, including bars, theaters, restaurants, ballrooms, museums, and residences. A big secret to the rest of the country, L.A. Live is currently constructing Farmers Field, an NFL stadium set to bring professional football back to L.A. Since the Staples Center is home to both of Los Angeles’ professional basketball teams, the Lakers and the Clippers, whenever the two teams clash for hometown dominance (a clash that has more than naught ended in a Lakers victory), L.A. erupts. Bringing a competitive NFL team back to L.A. would only serve to stir up even more fanfare for professional sporting events. Combined with the recent promised ascension of the L.A. Clippers as “Lob City” starring Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, Los Angeles’ prized sporting Center will feature prominently on the minds of many sports fans throughout the nation for years to come.