New-look Lakers kick off season versus Mavs

The Los Angeles Lakers unveil their spectacular new lineup Tuesday night when they host the Dallas Mavericks.

After an embarrassing 4-1 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Western Conference semifinals, the Lakers decided they needed a lot of help for Kobe Bryant in order to stay competitive in the conference race. They needed to make a major move to shake up the roster.

Actually, it was two moves.

In July, Steve Nash was acquired from the Phoenix Suns for first round-picks in 2013 and 2015 and second-round picks in 2013 and 2014. It's a small price to pay for a two-time MVP and future Hall of Famer.

Almost a month later, the Lakers traded for Dwight Howard, a three-time Defensive Player of the Year. Howard balked last season at almost every single thing that happened with regard to his status with the Orlando Magic, but relented when it came time to go to Los Angeles.

The price for Howard was Andrew Bynum, who might be a better center offensively than Howard is, but Howard is a far superior defensive center.

With Pau Gasol still entrenched at the big forward spot and Metta World Peace at the other forward, the Lakers boast the best starting lineup in the NBA in recent history.

But there is already trouble in Tinsel Town.

Kobe Bryant, who made it clear this was still his team until the day of his retirement, injured his foot in the preseason and head coach Mike Brown shut him down for the remainder of the exhibition season.

Most thought it was precautionary, but the possibility of Bryant missing Tuesday' opener looms large.

"I don't know if he'll be ready," admitted Brown on Thursday.

Another aging superstar will definitely be on the bench in a sport jacket.

Dirk Nowitzki, the cornerstone of the Mavericks for this whole century, underwent arthroscopic right knee surgery right before the start of the season.

No one, including Nowitzki, seem to know exactly how long the 7-footer will be out of action, but any time away will cripple the Mavericks.

Additions like Chris Kaman, who may miss Tuesday's game with a calf strain, Darren Collison, Elton Brand and O.J. Mayo won't be able to match Nowitzki's output.

Jason Kidd and Jason Terry both moved on to better situations. Kidd is a New York Knick, while Terry is on the Boston Celtics. And, combo guard Delonte West was suspended for a second time in 10 days for conduct detrimental to the team.

Basically, the Mavericks are scrambling a bit heading into the regular season.

"All these things happen. These things are part of everyday life in the NBA," head coach Rick Carlisle told the Mavericks' website. "And look, we've got a lot of veterans that have been through situations where there's been injuries and all kinds of different things, and the bus keeps going."

The Lakers swept last season's series with the Mavericks, 4-0, and have won the last six regular-season meetings overall.