The Lakers now officially sit 7 games below .500 and their next three games are against the Grizzlies, the Jazz and the Thunder (the last two at home). I think it is fair to assume that the games against Memphis and OKC are going to be loses, and hopeful thinking would suggest that perhaps the Lakers can beat the Jazz. After that stretch they will likely be 8 games under .500.
So what is the answer? Mike Brown was fired for being 3 games under .500, but 'Antoni's record is 7 games under .500 (though 'Antoni has a higher winning percentage than did Brown).
We all know that Brown was fired prematurely. But hiring 'Antoni hasn't helped much. Many were suggesting that when Nash got back, 'Antoni's system would start working, but it hasn't.
Kobe Bryant is currently 4th in the league in minutes per game, and third in the league in total minutes played. He's playing well, but dumping this many minutes on any player is a bad idea, much less one that is deep into his 30's. Gasol has been playing hurt, Hill is out for he season, Dwight is not as involved in the offence as he should be, or as much as he wants to be and the team sucks on defense.
so what is to be done.
One option: sit tight. This teams is talented and the ship will right its course.
Option two? Fire 'Antoni. Even if it means Bickerstaff serves as the head coach until the end of the season, 'Antoni is clearly not getting the job done.
Option three: Trade Pau. If LAL is going to stick with 'Antoni, they need to move Pau. 'Antoni has alienated Pau from his first game, and clearly does not know how to use him (though not being able to maximize a player as talented as Pau suggests to me the flaw of the coaching).
Option four: Trade Howard. Magic Johnson has recently suggested that Mark Cuban make a move for Howard, but frankly, what does Dallas have that would be appealing to LAL? Brand+Kaman+Marion? I dunno.... that might give LAL the depth they are sorely lacking right now, but Dallas wouldn't be any better and neither would LAL in the long run. A trade with BK seems like the best option. Lopez+Humpries (not sure if the salaries work). Howard wants to be in BK, the BK players are now eligible to be traded, and getting Lopez and Humphries back would give you a nice combo in the front court. Humphries can rebounds, Lopez can score.
I'm thinking something needs to be done now. If the Lakers wait much longer, they will not be able to come back. The trade deadline is Feb. 21st. From now until then LAL is playing:
MIN- R (W)
BOS- H (L)
I put "R" next to road games and "H" next to home games and in brackets what is fair to expect in terms of wins and loses. Essentially, their schedule they have, they should be able to play about .500 ball during that period (I think that is generous considering they just lost to Toronto). I actually have them finishing 6-8 for that period, which would put them 9 games below .500 The game against Boston is on the 20th, the last game before the trade deadline. If the Lakers wait that long, they will be between 6-9 games under .500, meaning, just to get to .500 they would have to go on a 6-9 game winning streak at that point.
Something needs to be done now before the Lakers' record gets any worse than it already is.
What do you think should be done?
I think both trading Howard and firing 'Antoni would be a good idea at this point. Howard is likely going to bolt in free agency considering how this season is going, and 'Antoni is not getting the job done. It's best to move forward on both instances. Get what you can for Howard rather than risking losing him for nothing in free agency, and bring in a coach who knows how to get this team together defensively and offensively.