Five Thoughts: NBA Uncertainty

The prospect of a long NBA lockout and a possible cancellation of the 2011-12 NBA season has me clutching to rosary beads and trying to find some fried chicken for Jobu. The thought of Kobe getting one year older without playing in an NBA season has me a bit weak in the knees, not to mention the fact that without an NBA season, there is nothing but hockey and college basketball on from February until April.  Now I love college basketball as much if not more than the next person, but we all know that it doesn't get interesting until the tournament. Hopefully the NBA can pull itself together like the NFL and get things done before it's too late so I'm writing my thoughts as everything is right on track. I also have a nice contingency plan if the lockout does in fact go through the season.

- Metta World Peace

What can really be said about this? Ron Artest is a funky dude, and nothing is ever going to surprise me with him. The guy ran into the stands to start a riot during a game, thanked his shrink immediately after winning an NBA title, had an endorsement deal with a Chinese shoe company that no one had ever heard of, which ruined his jumping ability, and drank during halftime of games early in his career.

Do I think the name will stick? Maybe a for a few years. Maybe he'll keep it forever, but still be know as Ron Artest. Who knows. What I do know, is that a lot of Laker fans will be his new jersey just for the mere fact that it will say either "Peace" or "World Peace" on the back of it. I also know that Ron Artest is past his time as a contributor on this team. Can he still guard guys? Yes, for the most part. Do I want him shooting an open three, jumper, or even a layup? No.

- Goodbye Shannon Brown

Shannon Brown opted out of his contract earlier this off-season, and there's little chance that he'll resign with the Lakers. He started out last season on fire, but his play slowly tapered off as the season went along. I've always had high hopes for him, not only because of his athletic abilities and the ever-present threat of an amazing dunk, but also because I felt that if he just got a chance to play extended minutes, that he would be able to consistently put up numbers. Maybe he'll be able to somewhere else, but it will probably be for a team like the Wizards.

- Andrew Bynum handicapped parking scandal

It must be a slow news cycle when the local NBC station is having reporters stake out the Bristol Farms in Westchester to catch Andrew Bynum parking illegally. Now, don't get me wrong, parking in handicapped spots is borderline reprehensible. When I'm driving in a parking lot, those blue spaces don't even occur to me as spots. But do I see people who aren't handicapped parking in the all of the time? Of course. We all do.

I do think this is part of a larger set of issues that has revealed a bit of Bynum's immaturity. But I don't think that the Lakers need to spend any of their time and energy on dealing with this particular issue. Unfortunately in our society, people with power and money often feel above the rules, and this is just another example of one of those people thinking that the law doesn't apply to them.

- NBA releases 2011-12 schedule

As if no lockout were even being discussed, the NBA released the schedule for next season. The most notable games being opening night against Oklahoma City, and their traditional Christmas Day game, this time against the Chicago Bulls. Also notable, is the fact that schedule anomalies exist every season where the Lakers play 4 teams only 3 times, instead of the customary 4 times each. This season, the Lakers will play Utah, New Orleans, San Antonio, and Portland only 3 times each. (Thankfully, they only have to travel to Portland once.) Lastly, I always like to look at the back-to-back games, because these are where teams can pick up some unnecessary losses because of fatigue. They have especially tough back-to-back games on the road against MEM/OKC, BOS/NYK, HOU/DAL, and SAS/DEN. Now whether or not these games will actually happen is another story.

- NBA lockout alternative; keeping NBA players in the US

I have an alternate plan for NBA players during the lockout. Although some players can make money traveling/playing overseas, this really won't work for the majority of NBA players. There aren't enough teams and euros to sustain the type of contracts most NBA players would need to play overseas. I propose that the players stay in America, and create their own league. All of the details can be found HERE.

- Mark Slattery Senior Writer

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