May 19, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder power forward Serge Ibaka (9) and Los Angeles Lakers power forward Pau Gasol (16) go for a rebound in the second half of game four in the Western Conference semi finals of the 2012 NBA Playoffs at the Staples Center. Thunder won 103-100. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE

Lakers Offseason Drama Already Simmering

Contrary to what you’ve heard the Lakers are still in the playoffs if only for a few more hours. There is still, at a minimum, one more game to be played with the potential for more if the Lake Show can actually drop the curtain in the fourth quarter on the Thunder.

It might not feel like this season has yet to conclude considering all the talk that as already started regarding the future of the franchise.

Is Pau Gasol done as a Laker? Is it possible to build around Andrew Bynum as a franchise player? Have we reached the end of the Lakers contending with Kobe Bryant as the centerpiece?

All of the above has got to be swirling around the mind of Mitch Kupchak. Even he must have one eye on the not so distance future.

Yep, this season isn’t over but these Lakers are done.

Gasol has already been traded once. Though he did the un-Lamar thing but being a professional Pau’s postseason performance has only reignited the discussions of his uncertain future in purple and gold.

Ramon Sessions is set to become a free agent. Not so long ago it seemed unlikely the Lakers would let him walk. Now that he’s vanished from the Western Semifinals scene there has got to be concern over his future with the franchise.

Metta World Peace avoided amnesty before the season began despite being more concerned with British soap operas and reality dancing competitions than getting in shape for the potential season. His play has been on the rise once he got into shape but you get the feeling this experiment is coming to its conclusion.

These are just a few of the topics slowly simmering on the backburner as the Lakers transition into the postseason. Of course every NBA team sees its season end at some point so the talk is inevitable. Just when the Lakers can officially shift into postseason posturing remains to be seen.

For all we know tonight could be the final call of the 2011-12 Lakers. Or this series could be stretched to its limits with a Game 7 showdown. No matter when the season ends for the Lakers the talk will continue. L.A. could pull off the impossible by eliminating Oklahoma City. They could even pull off the miracle of all miracles by winning the title and we’d still be having these discussions.

The offseason speculation is inevitable. Just when it can officially begin is about the only drama that remains.

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Tags: Andrew Bynum Kobe Bryant Los Angeles Lakers Metta World Peace Mitch Kupchak Pau Gasol Ramon Sessions

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