Paul Pierce is trying to read the tea leaves for the Los Angeles Lakers, and he does not like what he sees.
The retired Boston Celtics legend appeared this week on Showtime’s “What’s Burnin” and spoke on the new-look Lakers. Pierce made the ominous comment that they had similar vibes to the 2003-04 Lakers.
“This team is really giving me that Karl Malone, Gary Payton when they were with Kobe [Bryant], that kind of feel,” said Pierce, per Lakers Daily.
Of course, ending up like the 2003-04 Lakers would not exactly be the worst outcome. That team made it all the way to the NBA Finals and may have had a more competitive series against the Detroit Pistons if Malone’s knee injury in December of that year had not derailed his season. But having a 31-year-old Shaquille O’Neal and a 25-year-old Kobe Bryant is very different from having a 37-year-old LeBron James and a 28-year-old Anthony Davis. Plus, the 2003-04 Lakers were seen as a failure because they did not win a title. Those will probably be the same expectations for this year’s Lakers with so many veterans coming aboard to chase a ring.
The Lakers themselves already seem to be anticipating a slow start. But they will be trying their best not to be haunted by the Ghost of Laker Teams Past.