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Where the Lakers Are At
To tell you how awful this Laker season has gotten, here was an actual headline that I read on ESPN this morning: "Sources: Gasol-for-Bynum trade talks stall."
I had to rub my eyes a bit since I had not really paid much attention to the NBA last month. I knew about the Laker injuries thanks to the emails I get, but had things gotten that bad?
The short answer: Yes.
It was a December to forget for the Lakers. What started with promise turned into a complete disaster.
After a Dec. 6 win in Sacramento, the Lakers had a 10-9 record and had won three of their last four games. Then it was announced Kobe Bryant would return on Dec. 8 at home against Toronto. Somewhat unsurprisingly the Lakers lost 106-94.
It was here things started falling apart. With Steve Nash and Chris Kaman already out, Jordan Farmar went out with a left hamstring tear. A week later, Steve Blake went out with a torn ulnar collateral ligament of his right elbow. Pau Gasol dealt with an upper respiratory infection later in the month.
As if things couldn't get any worse, six games into his season Kobe goes out with a fracture of his lateral tibial plateau in his left knee.
Since that 10-9 record, the Lakers have gone 3-10. Doing the arithmetic has them at 13-19 coming into tonight's game against the Utah Jazz.
So I guess this is the point where trading for a lump of nothing makes sense. According to that ESPN story, there is a clause in Bynum's contract that allows the team to waive him by Jan. 7 with no affect on the salary cap.
Basically send Pau to Cleveland, get Bynum and waive him. In an instant you save millions in payroll and luxury tax. By getting out of the luxury tax threshold this season, the Lakers won't be deemed "repeat offenders" as they look towards the future mitigating some of the luxury tax implications in the future.
That's where the Lakers were at, but at least they beat the lowly Utah Jazz 110-99.
With Xavier Henry out with a bone bruise on his right knee, that left Kendall Marshall to be the starting point guard. Yes, all five other starting point guards the Lakers had used this season were not in uniform.
Marshall just signed with the Lakers on Dec. 20 from the D-League with the Delaware 87ers. He got his first start, and in his 53rd NBA game he recorded his first double-double: career-high 20 points and 15 assists. His most emphatic point: a three pointer as the shot clock was expiring late in the game that all but put a dagger through the Jazz giving the Lakers the 102-94 lead.
Pau Gasol with all of the trade talk surrounding him was two assists short of a triple-double: 23 points, 17 rebounds and eight assists.
The Lakers and the fans were excited about the win over the Jazz and the free tacos, but that's where the Lakers are at.