There's always drama in Los Angeles, and ironically, Gilbert Arenas could have put an end to much of it.
Given all of the silly history and injuries surrounding the former NBA All-Star, it is difficult to imagine how he could actually help a team that needs just a few small pieces. The fact is, however, the Los Angeles Lakers are missing key elements of championship-caliber team. Worst of all, Arenas has now become that small piece, and could've been had for next to nothing.
It's funny how spoiled fans of the Lakers are. By all accounts, blog posts (mine included), and comments that speak to how much trouble the team has been in over the course of the 2012 season, the Lakers are having a dismal year. The reality of the matter is that they are situated among the best teams in the Western Conference, comfortably a third-seed through 54 games.
So what's the issue?
The mantra in L.A. is "championship-or-bust", and fans are frustrated with the debacle of an offseason the team had when a deal for Chris Paul was first announced, yet never realized. Lamar Odom's feelings were hurt as a result, so the team traded him and got no playmaker in return. Though he's not playing well now and averaging career-lows in points and rebounds (6.9 and 4.3 respectively), it stands to reason that he could have produced more with a familiar team and city. Even more disconcerting is the fact that the Lakers would probably still be better off with those poor numbers added to their bench.
That's how bad the subs have been, and it's driving Lakers fans crazy.
Ramon Sessions was brought in at the trade deadline, and all it cost the Lakers were picks and dead weight in Luke Walton and Jason Kapono. This trade, while addressing a major need, did not solve the team's greatest issue - a lack of reliable and capable substitute players.
Enter Gilbert Arenas, who has since signed with the Memphis Grizzlies. I previously wrote that there were many good reasons to sign the L.A. native as a no-risk free agent, specifically when it comes to scoring and stretching a defense. He could have been playing nicely off of Sessions' ability to create shots. He can create his own shot too, which is a nice luxury to have a player who can do so off the bench. Through 54 games, the Lakers bench is last in scoring (20.7 ppg), and fans have to wonder if he could have helped the team in that department. Kobe Bryant would not have to log as many minutes, either.
If Memphis goes on to have success, especially in the postseason, then Arenas could be a factor. He's already played good defense on Kevin Durant in a win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday night and embraced a lesser role. Can you imagine the cry for blood from fans that would ensue if Memphis were to beat the Lakers in a playoff series?
Let's hope for everyone's sake that day never comes.
Michael C. Jones is a Yahoo! Featured Contributor in Sports and southern California native, following all developments related to the Los Angeles Lakers.
Follow Michael on Twitter: @MikeJonesTweets
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