It is painfully clear for Los Angeles Lakers fans that their team is going nowhere in 2014. The question is, what should they do going forward to have a competitive team next year and be able to contend for championships soon after?
The first order of business is to continue to lose games this season. Pretty obvious. The Lakers need to get a young, talented player in this year’s draft. I know it sounds like a mindset for losers, but it makes no sense to be middle of the pack with no chance of winning it all.
The second order is to make real tough decisions with their roster. I suggest trading some of their serviceable role players, who are all free agents to be, to a contender. If the Lakers are going after Carmelo Anthony this summer, it makes some of the talented swing-men they have expendable. Jodie Meeks, Xavier Henry, Nick Young and Steve Blake can all help a contender for the stretch run. They won’t be able to re-sign all of their free agents due to the money they owe Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash and the potential max star this summer. If you can package Meeks, Henry, Young and/or Blake to a team and get an asset, it makes a lot of sense.
The role players I would like to see Mitch Kupchak and company bring back are Jordan Farmar, Jordan Hill and Wesley Johnson. Farmar is an ideal player to play next to Bryant because he can catch and shoot, while at the same time be able to create his own shot if Bryant is heavily guarded. Farmar’s weakness of not being able to see the floor as well as other point guards gets hidden because of Bryant’s ability to facilitate.
Hill brings an ability to do all of the dirty work and be very effective without having to need the ball in his hands, or need post-ups. The Lakers have to be impressed with his ability to play through injuries this year and still be a difference maker. Johnson is a bit of a diamond in the rough. Like Hill, he doesn’t need plays called for him to make an impact on the game. Johnson has the ability to defend four positions, and is a very underrated team defender. Couple that with the ability to catch and shoot and move without the basketball, the Lakers would be wise to retain his services.
Lastly, and most obvious, the team has to either trade Pau Gasol this season, or if not, just let him walk this offseason. Gasol should have been traded years ago, and he was in the Chris Paul trade. He has nothing left in the tank and has lost his passion for the game. Furthermore, Nash retiring due to medical reasons would probably be the best thing for the organization.
If everything goes perfectly, the Lakers’ starting lineup for 2014-15 could be Kyle Lowry, Bryant, Anthony, Hill and Joel Embiid, with the a bench of Johnson, Glenn Robinson, Emeka Okafor and Farmar.
So, it’s not all bad, Lakers fans; the future is bright. Let’s just hope Jim Buss gets the memo.