Originally posted on Fox Sports Ohio  |  Last updated 5/1/13
Mike Brown got fired. Mike DAntoni was hired. Dwight Howard arrived injured and Steve Nash may have been worse. And we all know about Kobe Bryant and his torn Achilles tendon. So is it any surprise the Los Angeles Lakers were the NBAs biggest disappointment? Is it really a shocker they were swept in the first round of the playoffs by the San Antonio Spurs? Actually, even when Bryant, Howard and Nash were healthy, the Lakers werent any great shakes. They lacked chemistry. They barely defended -- at least, not when it mattered most. They possessed a thin and inconsistent bench. As Howard indicated, the Lakers were basically one gigantic flop. Now, general manager Mitch Kupchak has some major decisions. Bryant is 34 years old and coming off surgery. Howard is an unrestricted free agent. Nash is at least a little over-the-hill. And no ones sure if DAntoni is actually the right coach. Bryant offered his own opinion. He suggested the Lakers shouldnt gut the roster, that most of the key pieces should return. When Kobe talks, you chisel it in granite and hang it on the wall. We can win a championship, no doubt about it, Bryant told LA reporters. He may be on to something. Bryant and Howard are two great places to start. A healthy Nash would help, too. Theres been talk (all of it unfounded) that the Lakers might consider waiving Bryant via the leagues amnesty provision. Lets not kid ourselves. Thats not going to happen. As for Howard, its true he remained non-committal about his future with the team. But odds are, hell re-sign -- especially since the Lakers can offer him a larger contract than any of the leagues other 29 teams. So while not all fans are sold on Howard, hell likely be a Laker for a long time. Nor is Nash going anywhere. His age (39) and recent so-so play leave the Lakers with little choice but to keep him. Besides that, they truly want to give him another shot. That leaves starting forward Pau Gasol and Metta World Peace. Gasol turns 33 in July and is due 19.3 million next season. Hes still pretty good, still capable of being a No. 1 or No. 1-A option on most teams. Trading him shouldnt be overly difficult, and the Lakers will certainly try. As for World Peace, he turns 34 early next season (Nov. 13). Hes not nearly the defender he once was. Hes erratic offensively. His contract calls for a player option of 7.7 million next season. The Lakers are privately hoping he declines it and tries his hand at free agency. If the Lakers can trade Gasol, and World Peace walks, they could have something. Everyone on their bench can be had for cheap and reserves such as Devin Ebanks, Jodie Meeks and Antawn Jamison (who shouldve retired three years ago) wont be back. So, that is where the Lakers stand. Theyre about as perplexing as they were during the season. But Kobe is probably right. Re-signing Howard and making the right moves around him and Bryant could put the Lakers right back in serious contention. More of the wrong moves, however, will likely set the franchise way back. Kupchak has been the Lakers GM since 2000, and hes officially on the clock. A quick look at the roster shows this is his most important summer yet. Double Dribbles The Milwaukee Bucks are another team facing potentially sweeping changes following their first-round ouster by the Miami Heat. Key Bucks reserves Mike Dunleavy and J.J. Redick are unrestricted free agents. Starting guard Brandon Jennings is restricted, meaning the Bucks can match any offers. The Bucks are also without a coach after parting ways with interim coach Jim Boylan on Wednesday. Houston Rockets assistant Kelvin Sampson and former Cleveland Cavaliers coach Byron Scott are believed to be candidates. The same goes for former Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy -- but he seems like a long shot. Van Gundy could be holding out to see what becomes of the Los Angeles Clippers and coach Vinny Del Negro during the playoffs. Del Negros contract expires at seasons end. League sources believe he could be fired if the Clippers lose their first-round series vs. the Memphis Grizzlies. The Clippers currently trail, three games to two. Anyway, back to the Bucks. Jennings told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel his future is up in the air. When asked if he wants to remain with the Bucks, Jennings said, I dont know. I cant answer that. The Detroit Pistons are said to be interested in former Portland Trail Blazers and Seattle SuperSonics coach Nate McMillan for their vacancy. Van Gundy has already hinted hes not interested. Scott may also be a candidate for the Phoenix Suns coaching job, sources said. Interim coach Lindsey Hunter is not expected to be retained. Twitter: @SamAmicoFSO
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