Despite the existence of 48 more games on the schedule, there’s not much substance remaining in the Lakers’ season.
Usher out Kobe Bryant with some kind remembrances. Hope for development with the young players. Try not to get annihilated by 40 points (again).
Here are some dates of interest, however, from now through free agency.
Jan. 7: Lakers at Sacramento
For old time’s sake, it should be bring-your-cowbell night for Bryant’s last game at the old barn. Ear plugs mandatory.
This rivalry was so great that Rick Fox and Doug Christie once threw punches at each other before an exhibition game. Awesome. Just awesome.
Feb. 6: Lakers at San Antonio
Bryant has already played at New York, Philadelphia, Detroit and Boston for the last time, making this the final road game of major significance for him.
He also mentioned the Spurs. From every year. They’ve been that good that long.
He was booed in San Antonio last month during pregame introductions. Not even Boston fans were that harsh.
Feb. 12-14: All-Star weekend
Thanks to Commissioner Adam Silver’s major schedule reconfiguration, the Lakers will have nine days between games. They’ll need the break.
Then again, they might have a few players in Toronto that weekend.
Jordan Clarkson, Julius Randle and D’Angelo Russell could be picked for the Rising Stars Challenge. Maybe Larry Nance Jr. will enter the dunk contest.
Bryant will be there for the main event, assuming he holds his stunningly large lead over everybody else in the voting. It’s a safe assumption.
Feb. 18: NBA trade deadline
Lou Williams seems like a logical candidate to be traded to a contender. He can be a veteran scoring presence off the bench and has two more years with a cap-friendly $14 million on his contract.
Nick Young (two more years, $11 million) would also seem like a logical trade candidate. If only he wasn’t shooting 38.7%.
The lack of trade pieces for the Lakers almost makes you miss the good old days, when Pau Gasol was rumored to be going everywhere but the Fort Wayne Mad Ants. Sigh.
April 13: Lakers vs. Utah
Bryant’s final game. Fans at Staples Center used to save ticket stubs from championship games. At least they’ll have this for 2015-16.
What could the Lakers possibly give him as a goodbye gift? It might have already happened. He’s made $48.5 million the last two seasons.
May 17: NBA draft lottery
The Lakers beat the equally sad Philadelphia 76ers on Friday (congrats) but also dinged up their lottery probabilities (congrats withdrawn).
If the Lakers finish with the NBA’s second-worst record, there’s a 44.3% chance of losing their top-three-protected draft pick.
If they have the NBA’s worst record, there’s only a 35.8% chance of falling out of the top three when the ping-pong balls are drawn.
After Friday’s victory — or was it really a loss? — the Lakers are 4½ games better than the 76ers. Gulp.
June 2: NBA Finals begin
Kidding. Moving along . . .
June 23: Draft
Ben Simmons! Ben Simmons! Ben Simmons! Ben Simmons!
June 30: Free agency begins
Kevin Durant! Kevin Durant! Kevin . . .
Nah. Not quite.
Free agency starts at 9 p.m., and the Lakers will almost surely get a meeting with Durant. But this hasn’t exactly been an area of strength lately.
If Durant doesn’t sign with them, they’ll look to more moderate choices such as Toronto guard-forward DeMar DeRozan and Atlanta center Al Horford.
Not a bad Plan B. Not at all. It’s just not Plan A.