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Lakers have a few things to look forward to this season, even counting all the losses

Kobe Bryant, LeBron James

It appears Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, guarding Cavaliers forward LeBron James in 2013, will make one last return to the NBA All-Star game in February.

(Ronald Martinez / Getty Images)

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

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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.

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He recently listed the toughest teams he ever faced: Sacramento in the early 2000s, Boston in 2008, Detroit in 2004 and Chicago when he entered the league in 1996.

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.

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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.

Lou Williams

Lakers guard Lou Williams joins a few fans to celebrate after making a three-pointer against the 76ers in the second half Friday night. Williams was the game’s leading scorer with 24 points.

(Danny Moloshok / Associated Press)

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.

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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.

mike.bresnahan@latimes.com

Twitter: @Mike_Bresnahan


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