Lakers are a Hollywood tragedy

Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak, right, better hope 36-year-old Kobe Bryant still has something left. Noah Graham/NBAE/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers have been at the hub of the NBA universe pretty much forever, but their star went supernova a couple of years ago. For decades, the Lakers seemed to hover above any of the rules that governed typical basketball operations, but no more. And like Norma Desmond in "Sunset Boulevard," the Lakers continue to preen like stars, but outside of Los Angeles, fewer and fewer seem to care.

This is a franchise at its nadir. The Lakers missed the playoffs last season for just the sixth time in the franchise's 67 years of existence. Their 27 wins were the fewest since arriving in Los Angeles in 1960 -- three fewer than the season before the Lakers acquired Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Los Angeles also missed the playoffs in Kareem's first season on the West Coast -- the only time the organization has ever missed the postseason two years in a row. It very well could happen again this season.

How did the NBA's most glamorous franchise plummet to such depths?