The Los Angeles Lakers have been the premiere organization in the NBA for a long time. Los Angeles is the home of stars and the Lakers have followed suit, consistently having the biggest and brightest the NBA has to offer.
After one of the worst seasons in team history, many have begun to wonder if this is finally the time that the Lakers will hit a prolonged spell of mediocrity. Failed trades for Dwight Howard and Steve Nash, and bad coaching hires have caused fans to question if the team can turn things around.
The Lakers came into this off-season with lots of cap room, but an empty roster and no coach. Not the most ideal situation for a free agent looking to win.
No one expected the Lakers to be serious players for LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony, but there the Lakers were, getting a meeting with James’ agent. And here the Lakers are, remaining as a serious contender for Anthony.
The Lakers seem to have proven that they can be major players, but the rumors haven’t resulted in anyone deciding to join the purple and gold.
So we asked our panel of experts, does the Lakers activity so far this off-season give you renewed confidence in the front office to fix the team? This is what they had to say:
Russell Valenzuela (@RussVal4): When Dwight Howard left the Lakers last year, the talk was about how the team is no longer a serious destination for free agents.
Even if Carmelo Anthony doesn’t join the Lakers, the front office has done a pretty good job in their pursuit of players this summer.
You can’t really fault them for aiming for the stars in trying to pry Anthony away from the Knicks. If they wanted to prove they are still capable of landing stars, they’re going to have to try.
Last week I said I preferred the Lakers to chase after younger talent instead of Anthony. Still, the front office had to show they wanted him to come. Because of their efforts, they got Anthony to seriously consider the Lakers and their max offer.
I personally am not worried about all the time wasted while Anthony makes his decision. During the week other free agents were given lucrative deals that were probably overpriced. There are still other options out there for the Lakers to build a somewhat competitive roster.
Younger players still hold the Lakers with high regard and will continue to do so unless they have a long period of mediocrity. Things can change very quickly in a couple off-seasons. The Celtics did it years ago as did the Clippers more recently. Something tells me the Lakers will be fine in the near future.
Kevin Chan (@Kevin_Cruiser): I’m not sure the front office has done anything yet this off-season to renew my confidence in them. I have always been confident in Mitch Kupchak’s old-school ability to seek out, and make, shrewd deals.
One thing I do wish the Lakers front office would embrace more is the advanced stats movement that is sweeping the NBA. Their approach can be a combination of advanced metrics and traditional judgement of character and intangibles.
I feel like the front office has rightly pursued Carmelo Anthony and taken their best shot at signing the highly sought after superstar. Even if Carmelo ends up signing with the Knicks, it was the right move for the front office to try sign him.
It’s not often that a free agent of his caliber is on the market and everyone knows that it takes superstars to win championships. So when there’s a chance to sign a superstar you have to take it.
The Lakers typically have as good a shot as any other team especially given the advantages of it’s locale – Los Angeles is the second largest market in the US.
I’m eager to see what the front office does after Carmelo makes his decision – whether or not he signs with the Lakers. How will they fill out the rest of the roster?
Ryan Ward (@Lakers_Examiner): Heading into the off-season, I wasn’t all that optimistic about the Lakers’ chances or ability to lure free agents to Los Angeles.
Although the franchise has historically been great at convincing players to buy-in to team’s plans, it would be a difficult sell this time around, especially without Dr. Jerry Buss and with an aging Kobe Bryant.
Despite not exactly having the ideal situation with an aging superstar making almost $50 million over the next two years and few players on the roster, the Lakers were able to give Carmelo Anthony an impressive pitch that he’s seriously considered.
The fact that the Lakers were able to get in the running for Carmelo even with all the odds against them, Los Angeles has proven to still be a desirable destination for the big-name players.
Obviously, L.A. has its perks regardless of the team’s situation, but Mitch Kupchak and company going all-out and turning heads in the process is a good sign the front office is back on track.
The question now is where do the Lakers brass go from here. The next move, or moves, for the Lakers will be crucial to the team’s success with Kobe still in the fold. Options will be limited, but Kupchak might be able to continue to surprise people.
Corey Hansford (@TheeCoreyH): Call me a pessimist, but being in the running for free agents does absolutely nothing for me as a Lakers fan.
Don’t get me wrong, this summer has been encouraging so far, but this is the Los Angeles Lakers, not the Bucks, not the Bobcats, not the Hawks, not the Pelicans. Moral victories mean absolutely nothing.
If no major players come to Los Angeles this summer, what has the organization really accomplished. At this rate, the Lakers run the risk of being used as a threat to get the best deals from the teams these guys really want to play for.
The fact of the matter is, the Lakers are running the risk of being in the same position two years from now, only Kobe will be gone too. If the Lakers can’t turn this around quickly, they could be going down a slippery slope.
A bright future, or a star player is necessary to win. Winning attracts other stars. Being involved is nice, but if the Lakers don’t actually bring in some of these players, it’s a loss in my eyes.
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