With their long history, the Los Angeles Lakers are arguably the greatest franchise in all of sports. They have thirty NBA finals appearances while winning sixteen of them. Not to mention the amount of great players that have played for the organization. Shaquille O’neal, Magic Johnson, James Worthy, and Kobe Bryant to name a few.
People expect the Lakers to be competing for championships every year. However, they have not made the playoffs since the 2012-2013 season.
During the off-season, the Lakers signed Luol Deng and Timofey Mozgov. It looked as if management was taking the correct steps in moving forward, adding veterans to their young core. They also signed Luke Walton as their head coach, who showed great signs as temporary head coach of the Golden State Warriors the season prior.
It seemed like a fresh start for the Lakers. Players, both new-and-young, having more experience as well as a new coaching staff. And although they started the season off well with a 10-10 record, they have fallen to the bottom of the Western Conference.
At the end of February, a change in management occurred. Lakers fired both Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss while hiring Magic Johnson in charge of basketball operations. This happened only a few weeks after Johnson publicly said he wanted to work within the Lakers.
Wednesday it was announced that the Lakers will be shut down both Deng and Mozgov for the last 15 games of the season. Both are healthy enough to play, but they want their young players to get more experience and build for next year. They have both started the majority of the games they have played this season. However, the last few games they have seen their minutes be cut down drastically.
This seems as a controversial move at first because players want to play. There aren’t many professional athletes that want to sit out games while they can still play. Another reason is that both of these players combine are making $136 million over four years. The Lakers are spending for players who aren’t even going to suit up.
After more thought, this move makes sense because the Lakers aren’t going to make the playoffs, so there isn’t much need for them to play their best players. Also, they have two rookies Ivica Zubac and Brandon Ingram who are both just nineteen years old and play those exact positions of the players Los Angeles is shutting down. These fifteen games can only help their young core grow, and in return help the Lakers as a whole.
However, head coach Luke Walton sat down and discussed the matter with both Deng and Mozgov. They both understand and agree with the Lakers decision.
Maybe the Lakers should also be thinking about shutting down another one of their veterans.
Lakers traded Lou Williams for Corey Brewer pic.twitter.com/eIAxqm00Mf
— ㅤ (@PhoneDaPosites) March 14, 2017