No team in the history of the NBA has a collection of assembled stars that matches the Lakers. With guys like Kobe, Shaq, West, Magic, Kareem, Wilt, Baylor, and all the way back to George Mikan, the Lakers have a legacy of greatness.
Kobe Bryant has served as the face of the franchise for nearly a decade now, and he is arguably the greatest player to ever wear the purple and gold. But now, as his final years are quickly approaching, it is time for the Lakers to start looking towards the future and figure out who will carry this franchise for years to come.
The free agency classes of 2014 and 2015 boast a number of excellent young players such as Luol Deng, Lance Stephenson, Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Love, Kyrie Irving, LaMarcus Aldridge, and Rajon Rondo among others. With so many possibilities, we asked our panel of experts, which two players would you choose to lead the Lakers in the future? This is what they had to say:
Suki Thind (@TheRealSuki): I would definitely go with Kevin Love as my first pick. Love is a dominant rebounder who can score the ball from inside and out. Capable big men have always been the Lakers’ mainstay, and a key to winning championships throughout their rich history.
The second player I’m gong to choose might be a bit weird because of his position, but I’m going with talent over position here: LaMarcus Aldridge. Aldridge and Love are both listed as Forward-Centers, but in this age of basketball, the seven-foot true centers are becoming extinct.
Both are versatile players who could complement each other inside and outside of the post. With the addition of a solid point guard or wing player, this could be the core of an unstoppable team.
Many would choose an elite point guard over forwards or centers. In the last 20 years, only two point guards have been named Finals MVP — and that’s if you count Chauncey Billups, who is listed as a shooting guard, as a point guard.
Although it would be nice to revamp by next season, I think these two players — if the Lakers can acquire them — would be a force to deal with for years to come.
Ramneet Singh (@Ramneet24): The Los Angeles Lakers are ready to begin their rebuilding process and with Kobe Bryant on the verge of retirement, the front office is looking into young stars.
Bryant is in the books for the next two seasons, but the free agency classes of 2014 and 2015 are extremely talented. Despite all the claims that the Lakers will sign a big name free agent this off-season, the main prizes will be available in 2015. Names like LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and even Carmelo Anthony are likely to stay in their current situations and it will be hard for the Lakers to get any of them.
In 2015, both Kyrie Irving of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Kevin Love of the Minnesota Timberwolves will have a chance to sign elsewhere. Throughout NBA history, we have seen that a dominant point guard and a capable big man have been the most successful duos. Irving is an explosive guard who can attack the paint and shoot from outside, whereas Love is a skilled center who can rebound like no one else.
Signing these two young stars will surely put the Lakers back in contention for a title and they will lead the franchise in its next stage.
Ryan Ward (@Lakers_Examiner): There are plenty of great combinations of big-name players that will likely become available for the taking in the upcoming free agent markets of 2014 and 2015, but the best combination might be Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving.
Love has been linked with the Lakers over the past few weeks while Irving is a favorite of the fans in Los Angeles. The UCLA alum may be the most likely of the two potential free agents to sign with the Lakers, but the team landing Irving may be a stretch.
Although Irving is a promising young player, Love is definitely a star the Lakers could build around in the post-Kobe Bryant era. The only potential problem with both players, if acquired, is that they’ve struggled to stay healthy over the course of their careers in the NBA.
Despite the injury risk, Love and Irving are the best options in these free agent classes in my opinion.
Will either of these players sign with the Lakers? Who knows, but they are definitely great options if the team is able to bring them in.
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