The Lakers had just come off a dissapointing 2nd round sweep in 2011 at the hands of the Dallas Mavericks and had also lost coach Phil Jackson to retirement. Ex Cavs coach Mike Brown was brought in to replace coach Jackson, in large part of his defensive mindset.
LA was poised to make a bold move on December 8 to shake up the roster and bring Chris Paul to the Lakers. The deal had gone through with Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom as the center pieces to the trade. Quickly after the trade had gone through David Stern had decided to veto the trade due to “basketball reasons.”
December 8th cast a dark cloud over the Lakers season and changed the season. Lamar Odom now felt hurt that the Lakers would even try to trade him after seven seasons and wanted out. Odom was traded to the Dallas Mavericks for cap relief and the Lakers getting nothing in return but a draft pick. Pau Gasol was now messed with knowing that he could be traded away so easily as well. As a result Gasol played tentative throughout the season never really able to find his confidence that made him an All-Star level player.
The Lakers stumbled out of the gate, losing their first 2 contests and remained inconsistent for the first couple months of the season at 20-14. During the All star break the Lakers traded away long time Laker Derek Fisher and were able to acquire the younger and quicker Ramon Sessions. It was a shock to see the veteran Fisher get traded away, but the Lakers viewed this as a move for the future. As a result the Lakers got quicker with the addition of Sessions but definetely lost the experience of Fisher.
LA finished the season with a record of 41-25, good for the number 3 seed in the west. The Lakers opened the playoffs against the Denver Nuggets, with a 2-0 lead and even went up 3-1. With the Lakers unable to close Denver out in game 5 or 6, the Nuggets forced a deciding game 7. After escaping game 7 the Lakers found themselves matched up with the Thunder.
After a frusterating series against Oklahoma City where the Lakers lost in 5 games, many around the league were saying the Lakers should be blown up.
Kobe Bryant just completed his 16th season in the league and will now be age 34 enterting his 17th season. The front office has their work cut out for them if they want to preserve the remaining seasons for one of the greatest Laker players of all time.
Once again Pau Gasol is being shopped around. Ramon Sessions has decided to test free agency and is unsure of returning to the team. Bynum made his first all star game but showed signs of immaturity throughout the season.
The front office has said they want to keep the core of Kobe/Pau and Bynum intact but anything can happen. If the Lakers can hit a home run, expect them to. LA settles for nothing else then winning championships.