The Los Angeles Lakers are usually associated with championships, legends, and winning. However, since 2011, it has not been pretty for the star athletes in Hollywood. In February of 2011, the Lakers and Hornets (now New Orleans Pelicans) had agreed to a trade that would send All-Star point guard Chris Paul to California. However, the NBA came in and used their veto powers, since they ruled over the Hornets at the time, meaning that Kobe Bryant would still have Pau Gasol as his best teammate and Derek Fisher’s job was safe. The Lakers would finish that year second in the Western Conference, a year removed from their 31st NBA Championship. Ironically, the Lakers met the Hornets in the first round of the playoffs. Los Angeles moved onto the second round against the Dallas Mavericks. The Mavericks beat the Lakers, killing their hopes for a three peat. Following their elimination from the playoffs, Phil Jackson announced he would not return the following season, leaving the Lakers without a head coach.
Before the start of the next season, the Lakers hired formed Cleveland Cavaliers coach, Mike Brown. Remember, this was the season that was started late because of the lockout. Before the 2011-12 season, Los Angeles traded away two key veterans, Lamar Odom and Derek Fisher. The Lakers would make the playoffs at the third season, mainly because Kobe Bryant was still producing at a high level. The Lakers would see another short playoff appearance, exiting in the second round at the hands of the Oklahoma City Thunder.
It seemed that the Lakers were about to begin a downward spiral and fans were becoming nervous, also due to fans starting to become concerned with how much longer Kobe Bryant would be around. During the offseason leading up to the 2012-13 season, the Lakers made a huge splash by signing Steve Nash and trading for Dwight Howard at the loss of Andrew Bynum in the Dwightmare, Part I. Bynum was starting to show potential with the Lakers. However, when the season did start, Howard was on the sidelines after back surgery in April and head coach Mike Brown would soon be no where need the sidelines. Brown was fired five games into the season (the Lakers went 1-4). The Lakers made a controversial move by signing Mike D’Antoni to fill the coaching void instead of hiring Phil Jackson, who wanted to come back and coach again. During the season, there were chemistry problems which started on Day One. Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard did not get along well (evident of this past season opener) and D’Antoni and Howard just did not adapt to one another. The Lakers were 15-16 on New Year’s Day, but they managed to finish 45-37 and just made it into the playoffs as a seventh seed. During the season, Kobe Bryant fell to injury, a Achilles tendon rupture, which made him miss the playoffs. The Lakers were swept in the first round by the San Antonio Spurs.
Before the 2013 season, the Dwightmare, Part II, began and consumed the Lakers entire offseason. Howard would eventually sign with the Houston Rockets. During the season, nonetheless, the Lakers would descend into mediocrity, as Steve Nash would underperform and Kobe Bryant injured his left knee in March and missed the rest of the season. The Lakers would finish 27-55 and miss the playoffs for the first time since 2005. Following the end of the season, D’Antoni resigned as coach, leaving the Lakers coaching job open, yet again.
In the 2014 NBA Draft, the Lakers selected Julius Randle seventh overall and were looking to build their future around the young power forward. The Lakers also signed Byron Scott as their new head coach. Before the season started, Steve Nash injured his back and was out for the season. Also, the Lakers lost Pau Gasol in free agency to the Chicago Bulls. In the first game of the season, October 28th, Randle injured his leg and was declared out for the season. So, two games into the NBA season and the Los Angeles Lakers can only look forward to watching Kobe Bryant back in action and hope he can play as long as possible.
Is there a curse when it comes to the Los Angeles Lakers? Ever since their last title, the Lakers have never made it out of the second round of the playoffs, they have lost a top three player every year, whether it be by trade or via the injury bug. Will the curse continue throughout the season and for many more seasons to come? Or will the Lakers be able to overcome it and go back to their winning ways. Given that Kobe Bryant will most likely only be in Los Angeles for two more seasons and Julius Randle will not develop as fast as he was projected, it seems more likely that the Lakers will continue to drop. So, it seems that the curse will live on for the Lakers.