At the beginning of the season it looked like Los Angeles was the center of the NBA universe. Blake Griffin and Chris Paul created Lob City while Kobe Bryant and Andrew Bynum adjusted to life without the Zen master. The Staples Center was rocking with both of its tenants playing at a high level. With less than 20 games left in the regular season the fate of the Clippers and the Lakers is in question.
Earlier this week Vinny Del Negro got the dreaded "vote of confidence" from the Clippers front office. This is the same "vote of confidence" they gave his predecessor (Mike Dunleavy) before showing him the door. The team has struggled since losing Chauncey Billups and the league has figured out how to make the Clippers play a half court offense. At present they are 2 1/2 games away from missing the playoffs and their schedule isn't that favorable down the stretch. Look for Del Negro to get fired at season's end replaced by Nate McMillan.
As former President of Laker Nation it pains me to see the turmoil and chaos surrounding the purple and gold. Both Kobe Bryant and Andrew Bynum have had recent run-ins with coach Mike Brown and the situation doesn't seem to be getting any better. I wouldn't be surprised if coach Brown gets the Danny Ainge treatment soon (a towel thrown in his face by a disgusted player). To be fair, coach Brown is a nice guy and he knows his stuff, but his demeanor makes him an easy target and a push over. He always has a goofy look on his face and the players don't respect him. It's time for Byron Scott to come back and take the reins.
LA drama is good for the NBA and sports in general. If no one cared the fortunes of these teams wouldn't be an issue. As it stands everyone is on pins and needles waiting to see if these two franchises can turn things around or if they will be consumed by the weight of expectation and unfulfilled promise. The most probable scenario is the Clippers will barely make the playoffs and lose to OKC in the first round. The Lakers will suffer the same fate (losing to OKC) in the second round. It could have been beautiful, but the LA story will end in tragedy. Too bad Kobe and Blake. You deserve better.