Now that Andrew Bynum has been traded to the Chicago Bulls for Luol Deng, the rumors surrounding Pau Gasol’s immediate future have died down for the time being. Gasol may still ultimately be traded before the NBA deadline on Feb. 20, but he’s not going to the Cleveland Cavaliers in exchange for Andrew Bynum.
With the Gasol-for-Bynum swap being the main topic of discussion recently, the team hasn’t been able to avoid the distraction like Gasol has done over the last few years. Nick Young went as far as to say if the trade went down it would’ve indicated the end of the team competing this season via Mark Medina of the L.A. Daily News:
Nick Young: "If they got rid of Pau yesterday, they basically would've said it's over. We all have faith and think something can happen."
— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) January 7, 2014
Despite the 14-20 record, the Lakers’ locker room has been on the same page with a bunch of a hungry young players that want to right the ship. Young has played a big part in the locker room coming together this season with head coach Mike D’Antoni being one of the veteran’s biggest supporters.
If Gasol was shipped out in exchange for Andrew Bynum, who would’ve been waived immediately, it would’ve almost certainly signified the Lakers calling the season a bust.
At this point in time, it’s hard to see the Lakers being competitive in the Western Conference moving forward. Along with the injuries to Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Steve Blake, Jordan Farmar and Xavier Henry, the team continues to struggle, losing seven of the last eight games.
Only time will tell if the team can turn it around with Young and Gasol leading the way, but if they don’t stop the bleeding soon, the attention will shift to the 2014 NBA Draft and potential targets in free agency this summer.
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