Continuing today with the Los Angeles Lakers, we're asking the big-picture questions for each team that are likely asked by NBA general managers on a daily basis. The overriding question of every franchise: How do we get from here to a title? With the latest Lakers injury news dropping this week about Kobe Bryant, there may be no other team in the league for which that question is so muddled.
Where do the Lakers reside on the arc of contention?
In June, the Lakers will be four years removed from their previous title, in 2010. After the Dwight Howard hiccup last season, the Lakers retain the same foundation of that title team, at least in terms of their payroll structure. Bryant and Pau Gasol were the Lakers' highest-paid players then; they are L.A.'s highest-paid players now. With Bryant already signed for two more years beyond this one, the Lakers threaten to become the rare championship team that makes it all the way over to the wrong side of the arc as a squad that just couldn't let go of the glory days. It is past time for a reset, but with the ink barely dry on Bryant's contract extension, a clean slate seems impossible.