Los Angeles Lakers: 5 Changes They Need To Make This Offseason
Los Angeles Lakers: 5 Changes Must Be Made
Let's be honest, ever since legendary coach Phil “Zen Master” Jackson left the Los Angeles Lakers at the end of the 2010-11 season, the Lakers have been a complete mess from top to bottom.
Since the Zen Master has retired from coaching, in a span of two years, the Lakers went from a proud, respectable team to a desolated, discombobulated franchise that is trying to scrap together a roster with the veteran's minimum. That’s like Iron Man Tony Stark trying to build a suit with scrap metal on a McDonald’s budget.
Granted, the Lakers did experience the passing of one of the greatest owners in NBA history in Jerry Buss. With the passing of their great and beloved owner, the Lakers did lose their “way” or “identity” in a trying season, and we saw one of the most dominating franchises in the NBA crumble.
From stability to instability, organized to dysfunctional, clear vision to fogginess and from calm to panic, these were the things that people witnessed from one of the most successful teams in NBA history.
Coaching changes, losing arguably the most dominant centers in the NBA, Dwight Howard, firing coach Mike Brown after five games into his second season, turning down Zen Master in favor of Mike D’Antoni and going all out with no backup plan has left the Lakers in desperation mode.
By hitting rock bottom, however, this could turn out to be the best thing for the Lakers in moving forward because they can only go up from here. Whenever a franchise is at its lowest, it’s an easier way to hit the reset button. The Lakers have proven to be one of the best in rebuilding their team to be title contenders in a very short amount of time.
For the Lakers to begin their process of rebuilding their team back into title contenders, however, there are five changes they must make during the offseason to ensure they will put themselves in the best position to compete with the elite teams once more.
No. 5: Trade Pau Gasol
Now don’t get me wrong, Pau Gasol is one of the best skilled big men in the NBA today. He is an All-Star, but unfortunately his age is 33, and he is owed $19.3 million in the final year of his contract. The Lakers need to trade Gasol and acquire draft picks or younger players.
All-Star Kobe Bryant will not be happy at all, but in terms of the Lakers' future, general manager Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss will have to let Gasol go in order to move forward.
No. 4: Make An Offer To Greg Oden
Since the Portland Trail Blazers drafted Greg Oden 1st overall in the 2007 NBA Draft, things didn’t exactly turn out what the Trail Blazers had in mind. They envisioned that Oden would be that dominating center and the face of their franchise for years to come. Instead, Oden’s knees gave out and he has been on the injured reserve longer than his minutes on the actual court.
Although Oden’s health never really allowed him to live up to his true potential, it seems about the right time to hand him a second chance. The Lakers should go after Oden because he is still young at the age of 25 and they could use all the help they can get. Oden would be a nice fit for the Lakers, especially defensively, which is where their front line will have the most difficulties.
No. 3: Bring Back Phil Jackson Either As Coach Or Give Him A Bigger Role
Jackson was the best NBA coach during his years with the Chicago Bulls and the Lakers without a doubt. He coached what many people consider the “Father of Basketball” in Michael Jordan and Bryant, who many have penciled in going out as one of the greatest players in the NBA.
Jackson is also the only coach in all three major sports to win 11 championships. The Lakers were dumb when they turned him down as a possible coach. This time around, the Lakers should either beg him to come back or give him a role like Pat Riley is for the Miami Heat. In the end, the Lakers need to bring him back this offseason period, as their front office clearly could use some change.
No. 2: Change Kobe Bryant's Mindset On Playing Time
In order for the Lakers to maximize Bryant’s career in the NBA, they need to talk with him and change his mindset on how much he plays.
Bryant will always be the player that plays through pain, sacrifices his body, tries to be invincible and be the guy to tough it out in playing every single second of the game. This is who Bryant is, and frankly, this is why he is one of the greatest.
Sometime in the offseason though, Bryant needs to understand that he will be turning 36, and if he wants that sixth ring, he needs to manage his playing time. Don’t change who you are, but just manage it much better than during the 2012-13 season.
No. 1: Change Head Coach And Fire Mike D'Antoni Now
Let's just get straight to the point and say from the very moment the Lakers turned down Jackson and gave the coaching job to D’Antoni, it was a huge mistake. D’Antoni is an offensive minded coach and always has been. If history taught us something, it's that defense wins championships.
The Lakers need to change coaches once more, fire D’Antoni, and hire a coach who can command the locker room. This needs to happen and should be one of the first things the front office does.
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