As Magic Johnson has said the Lakers are tough to watch this season. All their big name players are either injured or unmotivated, they play no defense, and their record is pathetic. And unfortunately they don’t play in the east where pathetic records are rewarded with the play offs. Hiring D’Antoni appears even stupider than I thought, it appears the Lakers are in for a rough couple of years. Or it could be seen as an opportunity to get the organization in order.
The Lakers have played fast and loose with money for a while now, handing out large contracts like they were passing out fliers for their 1 man show (not far from the truth, sadly). They gave out large contracts to Artest, Gasol, Nash, and Kobe that made them very inflexible, and then those players didn’t perform. They already started balancing their books by ditching MWP in the off season, which will be followed by Nash and Gasol this year and next year. Kobe signed an extension, unfortunately, luckily it wasn’t too ridiculous. All in all the Lakers appear to be in a strong place financially going forward. For the first off season in a while the Lakers won’t have to worry about finances and will be free to pursue anyone they’d like in a really good free agent class.
Really, it shouldn’t take much to rebuild, they already have several young, talented players who should be key building blocks going forward, players like Nick Young, Jodie Meeks, Jordan Hill, Ryan Kelly, and Xavier Henry all look like valuable role players going forward, and Kendall Marshall looks like he might be the Lakers Point guard for a while. This team might be 1-2 great players away from being contenders again, but you could say that about a lot of teams. Ultimately it comes down to being able to find and acquire those great players.
There’s 3 things that go into building a franchise philosophy, identity, and talent. The Lakers for years had no trouble in any of those areas they always had a strong philosophy from top to bottom, they always played with an identity, and they had no problem finding talent. However, they’ve become a great example of how quickly things can change. They had turnover at the top of the organization, and that lead to turnover on the roster which lead to loss of talent, which lead to loss of identity. Bad contracts made it nearly impossible to acquire fresh talent, along with the bad contract management they didn’t have a great coach to instill a brand of basketball to better suit their deficiencies. Basically they became a banged up, rudderless ship just drifting through the NBA. For a lot of teams this would cripple them for years, but the Lakers are a different kind of franchise. They’ve shown they can rebuild quickly before, granted that was with a stronger front office and better coaches, but counting the Lakers out is like counting the Yankees or Manchester United out, they have the global image and revenue to change their fortunes quickly.
They should have little trouble obtaining 1-2 great players this off-season, especially if they get lucky in the lottery, if they can get into the top 5, they will have a crack at some potentially great players like Embiid, Parker, Wiggins, or Smart, are any of them franchise altering players? That remains to be seen, but they appear to be at the very least quality starter caliber. And in the free agent pool you have names like LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, D-wade and luol Deng, not to mention boat loads more of very good players like Zach Randolph, Rudy Gay, Danny Granger, Shawn Marion, and Rodney Stuckey. And then in 2015 you got Kevin Love, Roy Hibbert, Marc Gasol, LaMarcus Aldridge, and Rajon Rondo. I highly doubt they will not be able to convince 1 or 2 of these players to come play for them, add those in with their high draft pick this year, with the group of role players already assembled and this could be a championship caliber team.
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