After the gut wrenching overturning of Chris Paul’s trade from New Orleans to the Los Angeles Lakers by David Stern, the Purple ‘n’ Gold were in dire need of a re-up in talent. In 2011 the Chris Paul exchange was supposed to inject youth into the aging Laker core and extend Kobe Bryant’s NBA championship window. Laker fans were clamoring for a point guard of Paul’s caliber because since Kobe’s drafting in ’96 the Lakers’s best PG had been Derek Fisher (Gary Payton and Ron Harper were at the tail ends of their careers) and at the time Chris was arguably the game’s best floor general. Unfortunately David Stern veto’ed the trade (an unprecedented move, by the way) and the Lakers finished the 2011-12 season with a record of 41-25 – a pedestrian showing by Laker standards.
With talent holes still needing to be filled the Lakers started their 2012 offseason by trading for Dwight Howard in a three-way deal that saw the Lakers keeping most of their core intact. At the time, Dwight’s game was at an elite level and his services were in demand across the league. Like every off-season the “_____ Sweepstakes” commenced with Howard as the summer’s highlight prospect even though Dwight’s contractual obligations kept him tethered to Orlando. The Magic/Howard saga flooded the airwaves for an entire season with crazy amounts speculation as to where he would end up playing. The Dwight Howard Sweepstakes ended in a 4-way trade that sent “Superman” to Los Angeles and the city was hyped! Keep in mind, this all transpired before serious questions about Dwight’s relationship with teammates, competitive drive, and overall usefulness came to dampen his attractiveness as a player (in his defense, he can’t help that the league shifted into a perimeter-centric style – his game just isn’t suited to compliment that play style). With all that said, before the start of the 2012-13 season the Lakers genuinely thought they had their heir successor to Kobe; but Los Angeles still needed a point guard, and being La-La Land it needed to be a player with star power. Enter Steve Nash.
This story’s theme of “at the time” continues on with the Steve Nash signing. The x2 league MVP could still pass the rock and shoot, but he couldn’t stay healthy. It’s that simple, Steve just couldn’t stay on the court with his aging back. Most didn’t foresee Nash’s health problems being that bad but the season ended up being an injury fest with Nash, Howard and Gasol all missing substantial chunks of time. Since so many players on the roster were unable to play Kobe had to carry a heavy load of work, too heavy for a player in his 17th season. We all know what happened next, Kobe tore his Achilles, basically ending his career.
All of this happened with coach Mike Brown at the helm. While his team’s flailing health wasn’t his fault he was charged with the blame. On this day exactly (November 10, 2012) Brown was fired as head coach after the team’s disappointing 1-4 start to the season; it was the soonest into a season a coach was fired in the modern NBA (post NBA-ABA merger). Funny how it took us three paragraphs to get into this point, huh? lol.
The highlight of the Laker’s unfortunate season was the footwear being rocked by the team’s stars. Lets take a look back at some fine footwear from the Laker’s abysmal 2012-13 season.