The Los Angeles Lakers’ 2013-2014 season, may have the Lakers absent from the 2014 All-Star game, in New Orleans. If Kobe Bryant, the sixteen time All-Star, and four-time All-Star game Most Valuable Player, does not participate, it will mean no Laker All-Star appearances. A sight not common with Laker’s and basketball fans alike.
Kobe Bryant, legendary franchise shooting guard for Los Angeles, leads the Western Conference in All-Star ballot votes. However, since the news, and even before hand in anticipation, Kobe voiced his opinions on his nomination.
Bryant told reporters and interviewers that he considers being voted by the fans is obviously a tremendous honor, but his respect for his fans has to come second to his peers. Kobe spoke out, and admitted he would like to see other young rising stars, such as Portland Trailblazer’s second year point-guard, Damian Lillard, be receiving this honor.
Critics of Bryant suggest that he is trying to elaborate on the problems of the leagues policy, of All-Star games being in the hands of the fans. Seemingly every year more and more players, and the leagues alumni suggest the fan voting allows deserving players to be over looked. Others revere Kobe, and see his verbal gestures toward his peers as commendable.
The Los Angeles Lakers being absent from the All-Star game, is just one small problem in the diagnosis of the team’s current status. The Lakers have only four players under contract through next season; Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Nick Young and second year center, Robert Sacre. Kobe Bryant’s latest two year deal, valued at around 48.5 million dollars, theoretically stops the Lakers from pursing max salary free agents, like Lebron James or Carmelo Anthony. They could bring in one of these guys, but luxury taxes, and other financial ceilings, would prohibit the team from constructing a roster of 11 players.
These realities suggest that the Lakers are looking to profit from this years rich draft. The Lakers have been predicted to earn a ninth spot in the lottery, giving them a less than 5% chance of getting the number one pick. Some sports experts believe the Lakers will also attempt to trade players to obtain even more draft picks, such as Laker career trade rumor victim, Pau Gasol.
Kobe Bryant has been under fire about his vehemence behind his decision to not sit out the remainder of the season. despite the pressure presented to him from his peers, such as Lakers’ point guard legend, Magic Johnson, who believe Kobe should remain absent for the season. The same passion to play can not be seen by Kobe for the All-Star game.
It seems likely that Kobe Bryant, with all his accolades, will not participate, meaning the Los Angeles Lakers will be absent in the All-Star game. The unfamiliar nature of these last few seasons for the Lakers organization, one of the leagues most historic franchises, is analogous to their ambiguous future.
Although most Los Angeles fans would agree, this season is not as bad as last years Dwight Howard debacle, they have to look strategically at next season. Kobe Bryant, in last year’s All-Star game, had his nose broken by olympic teammate, Dwayne Wade, and as Laker fans know, they cannot afford the possibility of Kobe missing any more games.
The Los Angeles Lakers have a history of making monumental moves seemingly out of thin air. Laker fans can only hope the Buss family can conjure a championship contender team for Kobe Bryant’s last two seasons. Even if it means the Los Angeles Lakers are absent from the All-Star game.
By: Zane Foley