The Lakers certainly didn't envision a break-even 14-14 mark on Christmas, but after their early-season struggles, they'll certainly take it. Pau Gasol's resounding dunk with just seconds to play iced L.A.'s win over the Knicks, and it may have signaled a sea change in the team's immediate plans. The team no longer has interest in opening a roster spot for free agents Derek Fisher, Kenyon Martin or anyone else, tweets Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports.
Of course, that doesn't mean the team won't explore such moves in the future, and it doesn't rule out a trade of Gasol or another key figure. What it does mean is that the Lakers are likely no longer in the hunt for another guard, as they reportedly were as recently as a week ago. Steve Blake remains out after surgery to repair a torn abdominal muscle, but the team appears satisfied with a backcourt rotation featuring a healthy Steve Nash alongside Darius Morris in the starting lineup, with Kobe Bryant at small forward. Jodie Meeks and Chris Duhon have also seen significant minutes since Nash's return.
The Lakers have won five in a row, though Nash has only been back for the last two. The team has repeatedly pointed to the star point guard's impending return as reason not to panic. Mike D'Antoni admitted that when he signed to coach the team in November, he thought Nash would be back by the time D'Antoni made it to the bench for his first game, as Spears writes. D'Antoni, whose Lakers debut was delayed by a week because of knee replacement surgery, wound up guiding the team to a 7-9 record without Nash.
The Lakers have a full complement of 15 players, and would have probably targeted either Darius Johnson-Odom or Robert Sacre, both second-round picks this year, for a cut if they had brought another guard on board. Two weeks ago, Marc Stein of ESPN.com linked the Lakers to West, Mike James and Jonny Flynn, while noting that the team's top trade target was Jose Calderon.