The Los Angeles Lakers are starting to see cracks appear in a once proud franchise. Team management is rife with issues that could end up sinking the team the longer they go. Pau Gasol trade rumors continue to cause trouble and have frustrated Kobe Bryant.
The Lakers' front office is an uncommunicative, rudderless fiasco, and the unrest and paranoia that have been festering for years threaten to derail the team's plans to ride Bryant to his sixth NBA title while they still can. And much of it can be traced to the growing influence of executive vice president Jim Buss, the owner's bon vivant son, who has helped transform a great franchise into a steaming pool of nepotism and nincompoops.
"The other GMs know what's going on," said one of the people familiar with the Lakers' chaos. "Jim has no relationships with other GMs, and they also know they're going to be able to swoop in there and do things [in trades]. This is a real critical time. The chances of Dwight Howard coming in there are slim and none at this point."
Clearly, the Magic can't be happy. The biggest trade piece they could possibly want is Andrew Bynum, and there's no better offer any other team could make for the best defensive player in the league. So they'd look elsewhere to try to find a deal that'll get them as many pieces as possible.
Unless the Magic are stupid enough to not trade Howard before the deadline, it's likely Howard will be dealt soon, and he'll end up on a team that won't be the Lakers.