As if the Miami Heat’s second consecutive NBA championship didn’t provide enough of a visual reminder to the Lakers that their title aspirations fell woefully short.
Few expect the purple & gold to retrieve that Larry O’Brien trophy anytime soon. Las Vegas oddsmakers aren’t just penning the Heat as inevitable favorites to three-peat. They’re hardly expecting the Lakers will even have a chance to stop them.
Bovada listed the Lakers with 22-1 odds to win the NBA championship in the 2013-14 season, while Pregame.com has listed the Lakers at 35-1. For those keeping score, both sights also consider the Clippers, Oklahoma City Thunder, Chicago Bulls, Indiana Pacers, Houston Rockets, Memphis Grizzlies, New York Knicks and the San Antonio Spurs with better chances to deny Miami the chance to three-peat.
Not that these revelations should be surprising.
The Lakers are two months removed from a first-round sweep to the Spurs and are about to encounter an uncertain offseason. Will Dwight Howard resign or become the first player in Lakers history to willfully leave the organization? How long will it take not just for Kobe Bryant to return from a torn left Achilles’ tendon, but to play at an elite level? Will the Lakers keep their talented albeit aging roster (Pau Gasol, Steve Nash) and simply hope they get healthy? Or will they try to trade experience for youth even if the talent level drops? Meanwhile, how will the Lakers front office function in the first offseason since the late owner Jerry Buss died from an specified form of cancer four months ago?
There will be more clarity in months to come, but the oddsmakers assessment just marks the latest example that plenty remain skeptical the Lakers will have the right answers.
As the off-season unfolds and teams make personnel moves, the oddsmakers will shuffle the list — but the Heat is likely to lead the list without exception.
Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org