If anyone can understand the Lakers struggles right now it’s LeBron and other members of the Heat.
While LeBron James, the reigning MVP, and his teammates weren’t looking to offer a tutorial to the NBA’s latest super team when they arrived this week to face the Los Angeles Clippers, they do know what it will take for the Lakers to turn it around.
“It’s not easy, and it doesn’t happen overnight,” James said. “We live in a world where you automatically sign guys, and you guys (in the news media) want success right now. It’s a process. It’s not a video game where you can just put guys on the team and it automatically just happens and you have the best team in the world. It takes time.”
Their stories are similar, but the circumstances — as Dwyane Wade pointed out — are different enough that they may help explain how each team handled its situation. When the Heat stars met on South Beach in the summer of 2010 and signed deals that made them Miami’s at least through 2014, Wade was the oldest of the bunch at 28, while James was 25 and big man Chris Bosh was 26. The Lakers’ new core is just as impressive as the Heat’s on paper — unless it’s birth certificates or player contracts that we’re talking about.
Resident star Kobe Bryant may well be the oldest 34-year-old in the sports world, having logged the equivalent of almost 17 full seasons in the NBA between regular season and postseason play (1,389 games in all) and spending so many summers playing internationally as well. He is signed through next season and has said he may retire after that.
New point guard Steve Nash is signed through 2015, but he is 38 and also a high-mileage player because of his extensive postseason experience. As for Dwight Howard, it’s not a Father Time issue with the Lakers’ new center so much as a matter of his expiring contract. The 26-year-old is free to sign where he pleases this summer, and the Lakers are well aware they must make him happy to avoid the disaster of him leaving town.
“We kind of had a little bit more time and a little bit more patience,” Wade told USA TODAY Sports. “I think (the Lakers’ decision to fire Brown) was probably moreso looking at the age and saying, ‘Listen, we don’t have time to be patient.’ It was unfortunate.”
“If you watch any sports show, (the Lakers are) taking up half of the show,” Bosh told USA TODAY Sports. “But the thing that I try to tell people (about so-called Super Teams) is, ‘This isn’t XBox, it’s not PlayStation. In real life, it’s a lot more complicated. Guys have to make a lot of sacrifices, roles have to be established.
“It’s a very long season. We figured that out. There’s going to be a lot of ups and downs, and when you’re contending for a championship that’s how it is. One day you’re on top of the world, and the next that world is crumbling. It’s a part of the gig, man.”
The Heat, who would certainly know, will be watching like the rest.
“Yeah, we watch everything that they do,” Bosh said. “We know that they have huge upside and their propensity to really bring it together, it’s huge. The potential danger (of the Lakers) is there.”
As was the case with the Heat, Wade predicts, the Lakers will find their way.
WRITTEN BY Sam Amick, USA TODAY Sports & FULL STORY HERE