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After a promising rookie season where he averaged 16.1 points per game, shot 36.6% from deep, and was declared a steal as 27th pick in the draft, Kyle Kuzma’s become the forgotten man on the Los Angeles L […]
After a promising rookie season where he averaged 16.1 points per game, shot 36.6% from deep, and was declared a steal as 27th pick in the draft, Kyle Kuzma’s become the forgotten man on the Los Angeles Lakers’ roster.
While his three-point shooting declined to 30.3% playing alongside LeBron James his sophomore season, Kyle still started and played over 33 minutes per game, averaging a career best 18.8 points and 2.5 assists per game. Unfortunately, with the arrival of superstar power forward Anthony Davis, Kuz lost his starting position this season and saw his stats drop to just 12.5 points in 24.6 minutes per game, while shooting a poor 29.7% from deep.
Now, as the team prepares to take off for Orlando in a couple of days, Kyle has all but disappeared from discussions of which players have a chance to be wild cards and x-factors for the Lakers as the season/playoffs resume. Frankly, the only news we hear about him is social media buzz about dating Winnie Harlow or attending Teyana Taylor’s Album Release Party. Nobody’s talking about Kuz and whether he can help the Lakers win a championship.
Instead, the talk has been about Markieff Morris, Dion Waiters, and JR Smith, three new veteran players whose addition to the Lakers’ playoff roster could end up reducing Kuzma’s playing time and opportunities. Those moves, combined with James and Davis upping their regular season 34 minutes per game to a playoff 40 minutes per game, are going to create intense competition for playing time among Lakers’ bench players.
But it would be a mistake for the Lakers to write Kyle Kuzma off as a player who could be a difference maker in their championship run both because of his potential as a valuable rotation player or trading chip this offseason. Kuzma has too much talent to dismiss him as a bust and relegate him to the end of the bench. Instead, the Lakers need to give him a legitimate chance to shine in the upcoming scrimmages and regular season games.
There are good reasons why the Lakers need to save Kuzma from being the forgotten man. First, he’s finally 100% healthy after struggling all year with an unfortunate foot injury suffered trying out for Team USA this summer. Second, Kyle can return to playing his natural small forward position now that the Lakers have Markieff Morris to backup Anthony Davis at the four. Third, other than LeBron, Kuz is the only true wing on the Lakers’ roster.
Kuzma also showed signs of breaking through right before the season was suspended. In the Lakers’ weekend sweep of the rival Bucks and Clippers, he almost averaged a double-double with 9.5 points and 9.0 rebounds. While playoff minutes are going to be scarce, Kuzma could be the wild card on the roster if he could suddenly find his shot and confidence. Giving him an early shot in Orlando could entail minimal risks and major rewards.
Despite struggling with his three-point shot, Kuzma has remained engaged when on the floor and shown improved ability defending, rebounding, and playmaking. Kyle will also be looking for a new contract after next season. Like many Lakers players, the season restart represents a redemption opportunity to put a troubled year in the rear view mirror and show what kind of player he can be. This would be his first opportunity in the playoffs.
Kuzma knows this is could be his last chance to show the Lakers he can be part of their championship future. He’s surely been working hard on fixing his long range shooting and it’s in the Lakers’ interest to give him a last shot. The risks are minimal since they have already locked up the #1 seed in the Western Conference and the reward could be a talented young wing on a roster dominated by guards and bigs and an invaluable trading chip.
So, despite the talk about who’s going to replace Avery Bradley and how the three new players could be the wild cards, the Lakers would be smart to make sure they save Kyle Kuzma from becoming the forgotten man.
Through a savvy series of opportunistic late season moves, the Los Angeles Lakers have taken major steps to upgrade their roster, expand their depth, and improve their chances of winning their 17th NBA […]
Through a savvy series of opportunistic late season moves, the Los Angeles Lakers have taken major steps to upgrade their roster, expand their depth, and improve their chances of winning their 17th NBA championship.
While the Lakers will miss Avery Bradley, a starter who opted to not join the team in Orlando for family reasons, replacing him with a championship caliber three-point shooter like JR Smith could end up being an upgrade. Similarly, exchanging DeMarcus Cousins, who never played, and Troy Daniels, who rarely played, for Markieff Morris and Dion Waiters could be smart moves that will make the Lakers a more dangerous playoff team.
Essentially, the Lakers pulled off what could be viewed as an opportunistic blockbuster straight three-player of DeMarcus Cousins, Troy Daniels, and Avery Bradley in return for Markieff Morris, Dion Waiters, and JR Smith. They traded two players who had not contributed to their success and one unavailable player for two proven veterans who filled critical roster needs and one veteran sharp shooter with playoff experience with LeBron James.
So let’s take a closer look at the roles and minutes these three veteran role players could play coming off the bench for the Lakers and the impact they could have on the team’s chances to win their 17th NBA championship:
1. Markieff Morris, 30-year old, 10-year veteran power forward/center.
Markieff Morris was signed as a free agent at the trade deadline when the Lakers waived DeMarcus Cousins. A career 34.4% three-point shooter, Morris was shooting a career best 39.7% for the Pistons before the trade. While he only shot 28.6% from deep on just 21 attempts in the 8 games he played as a Laker, Markieff filled a critical need for an aggressive big to back up Anthony Davis at the four and contribute spot minutes as a stretch five.
Looking ahead at the playoffs, expect Markieff to continue to backup Davis at the four and play with him at the five. He’s done a good job rebounding and fair job defending his position in 14.8 minutes per game he’s played. While Morris only shot 6 of 21 from three with the Lakers, he’s still shooting 38.6% from deep for the season, which is better than any player on the team with over 200 attempts other than Kentavious Caldwell-Pope’s 39.4%.
If Markieff can shoot over 38% from three, he’ll not only fill a vital role for the Lakers in the playoffs creating spacing for LeBron James and Anthony Davis but also put himself in position for a key role on the team next season.
2. Dion Waiters, 28-year old, 8-year veteran shooting guard.
Dion Waiters offers the greatest upside and most risk of the Lakers’ three new players. A mercurial player who played just 14 minutes this season, he has the offensive chops to be the needed third scorer and second playmaker. In many ways, Dion’s the Lakers’ latest reiteration of Dwight Howard. Can he put his recent troubled past with the Miami Heat aside and seize a last chance to become a valuable cog in the Lakers championship roster?
In his last full season with the Heat, Waiters averaged 12.0 points, 2.6 boards, and 2.8 assists in 25.9 minutes shooting 37.7% from deep. He’ll need to be a total wild card surprise to earn those minutes in the playoffs. The Lakers must have seen something they liked to sign Dion over JR but he’ll have to show he’s matured and and can play at an elite level during the 8-game regular season to earn any consistent minutes in the playoffs.
If Waiters can get his mojo back and be the player the Lakers need to create shots for himself and teammates when LeBron is on the bench, he could be the difference maker in the Lakers’ quest for another championship.
3. JR Smith, 34-year old, 15-year veteran shooting guard.
Unlike Markieff Morris and Dion Waiters who replaced players who were not in the Lakers rotation, JR Smith was added to the roster to replace Avery Bradley, the starting point guard since opening day of the season. While the Lakers opted to add Waiters before Smith, JR probably has a better chance than Dion to become a regular part of the Lakers’ playoff rotation because of his fit and experience playing with LeBron James.
JR, like Dion, has not played for over a year but is a career 37.3% regular season three-point shooter and a career 37.0% playoff three-point shooter who ranks fourth among players for career made threes in the playoffs. While everybody remembers Smith’s gaffe in the playoffs two years ago, they also know he’s a proven clutch three-point shooter whom LeBron trusts to take and make big shots in the fourth quarter with the game on the line.
If his shot is falling, look for JR to be on the floor with LeBron at crunch time. He may not play big minutes but he’s a player LeBron likes so he’ll get his opportunities to be a key role player in the Lakers’ championship run.
While the Lakers need superstars like LeBron James and Anthony Davis to win the NBA championship, they also need talented complementary role players to create the teamwork and situations for the superstars to excel. The playoffs are more than just a second season. They’re a totally different level of competition where the pressure and quality of play ramps up and the focus switches from single games to gruelling multiple game series.
That challenge will be even more arduous this year with unprecedented conditions with every playoff game played without fans at a neutral site in a bubble in Orlando, Florida in the middle of a deadly ravaging pandemic. Those are conditions that heavily favor experienced veteran players who’ve been there before and understand how to prepare for and maintain the discipline and focus needed to survive the bright lights and high stress.
The Lakers have a veteran roster with LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Danny Green, JaVale McGee, Dwight Howard, Rajon Rondo, Alex Caruso, Quinn Cook, Jared Dudley, and Kyle Kuzma. Nevertheless, they still need a third scorer to create his own shot, a second playmaker to run the offense when LeBron is on the bench, and better three-point shooting. That’s where the three new veterans come in.
The addition of three talented veterans like Markieff Morris, Dion Waiters, and JR Smith have upgraded the Lakers’ roster, expanded their depth, and improved their chances of winning their 17th NBA championship.
What happens if life as we know it becomes a dystopian battle against a parade of ravaging pandemics? Could bubble communities like the NBA is trying to create to finish their suspended season become a way of […]
What happens if life as we know it becomes a dystopian battle against a parade of ravaging pandemics? Could bubble communities like the NBA is trying to create to finish their suspended season become a way of life?
A future plagued by pandemics is not far fetched considering the damage coronavirus has caused worldwide. Now we hear coronavirus has begun mutating and a virulent form of swine flu could be the next pandemic. Europe has already shut its doors to visitors from the United States and states like New York are already effectively banning travelers from other states suffering rapid spread of Covid-19 by requiring quarantining.
My son’s father-in-law owns a large winery outside of Sacramento with the acreage and facilities to harbor dozens of extended families and friends in a safe and isolated residential bubble possibly for months or even years. While he’s not what would be considered to be a survivalist, he’s already started to enhance security systems, stockpile provisions, and prepare contingency plans for a move there should the current situation worsen.
What’s next? Could the gated communities of the future evolve into the bubble cities of the future? As crazy as it sounds, bubble communities as an idea could actually make sense in a dystopian future dominated by plague. Coronavirus may not be as lethal as originally thought but it’s given us more than we can handle and the next pathogen could be a more lethal and deadly threat than nuclear war, climate change, or overpopulation.
It’s a frightening thought to think life as we once enjoyed it could never come back but we’re all now in the process of creating our own personal bubbles to stay safe be it with family or friends or a combination of both. The programmer from India who is working with me to build the new Lakerholics website lives in a form of isolated bubble in Southern India that includes multiple extended families and close friends and associates.
Maybe the NBA’s Orlando bubble experiment will become a model not only for professional sports but also for groups of people who want to recreate the old normal in groups larger than just immediate family and friends.
There are many reasons why the Los Angeles Lakers are favored by the Las Vegas oddsmakers to win the 2019-20 NBA championship but they all start with superstar LeBron James, who’s still the greatest player on t […]
There are many reasons why the Los Angeles Lakers are favored by the Las Vegas oddsmakers to win the 2019-20 NBA championship but they all start with superstar LeBron James, who’s still the greatest player on the planet.
LeBron may not be the greatest athlete in the game or able to leap over tall buildings like when he was young but his unrivaled physical conditioning, championship experience, and elite basketball smarts remain unmatched. Nobody playing today — not Kawhi Leonard, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kevin Durant, or Steph Curry — has the winning gravity and unparalleled two-way ability to dominate playoff games and series like LeBron James.
Once the NBA resumes in a month, LeBron will remind the doubters and naysayers, who’ve conveniently forgotten who he is and what he’s done, that he’s still the King and the road to the championship goes through him. He gave Giannis and Kawhi a preview of what to expect in the playoffs as he dominated play at both ends in the Lakers’ weekend sweep of the Clippers and the Bucks before coronavirus forced the league down to shut down.
Consider the unprecedented challenge NBA teams and players are going to confront in these playoffs, with games played in a bubble in the middle of a pandemic with no fans or home court advantage after a three-month delay. These are conditions where championship confidence, experience, and savvy prevail, when those who’ve been there before, know how to focus on the moment, handle the pressure, and live up to to the expectations win.
Before play was suspended, LeBron and the Lakers were playing their best basketball of the season, had catapulted over the Bucks and Clippers to top the NBA power rankings, and had generated championship momentum. There’s reason to believe, given time to become fully rested and healthy plus a daunting set of draconian conditions they’re best suited to handle, LeBron and the Lakers should be even bigger favorites to win the title.
This year’s playoffs are not a crazy, anything-can-happen, March Madness tournament where wild card outcomes and surprise upsets are going to dominate the day and untested underdogs have unexpected advantages. These playoffs are going to be a gruelling, taxing second season played under extraordinary conditions that favor poised, focused, motivated, experienced veteran teams and players with the will and skill to prevail.
The road to the 2020 NBA Championship is going to be an arduous trek filled with obstacles and hurdles never before encountered, ending with the ultimate challenge of going through LeBron James and the Lakers.
With the coronavirus pandemic exploding and endangering the future of professional sports in America, the NBA has embarked on an ambitious experimental season restart that could transform the future of the […]
With the coronavirus pandemic exploding and endangering the future of professional sports in America, the NBA has embarked on an ambitious experimental season restart that could transform the future of the league.
Hoping to salvage the 2019–20 season, the NBA league has finalized an innovative plan to resume the season with 22 of 30 teams playing 8 regular games followed by a play-in tournament for the final two playoff spots. Whether this plan can save the season will depend on how successful the league is at keeping their players, coaches, and team staffs safe by isolating them in a bubble at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports in Orlando.
What’s certain is the league desperately needs this experiment to work as the revenue earned by finishing the season and playoffs could be critical with the prospects of fans attending live games next season now in doubt. Just as important, there are several components of the season restart plan that could portend solutions the league could deploy to salvage the next season and help it recover from the financial crisis caused by the pandemic.
Even before the coronavirus suspension, the NBA had been struggling with reduced ticket revenue and TV ratings because of a surplus of unattractive game matchups and Daryl Morey’s controversial comments about China. Commissioner Adam Silver had already been looking at novel ideas to boost league interest and revenue, including a midseason tournament, two more expansion teams, and play-in tournaments for the final playoff spots.
One of the most controversial decisions in the league’s plan to finish the regular season was limiting play to just the 22 teams with the best records, which has resulted in much improved matchups for the 8 game schedule. While criticized by the 8 teams who were left out, fan interest and TV ratings for these games could skyrocket due to the matchups, which is a result the league should work to replicate for future regular seasons.
If the enhanced regular season matchups and the play-in tournament are successful at creating more interest, the NBA should consider deploying a similar strategy for second half of next year’s regular season and playoffs. The league already wants to create some form of midseason tournament to divide the season into two halves and it makes sense use that tournament to create more attractive game matchups for the second half of the season.
For example, the NBA could divide the season in half with 30 teams playing each other in the first half and a midseason tournament determining 16 ‘A’ teams and 14 ‘B’ teams who would play against each other the second half. The top 5 teams in each conference would get byes as ‘A’ while the other 6 teams would be seeded and play a 7-game series to determine whether they would be ‘A’ or ‘B’ teams in their conferences for the season second half.
The 16 ‘A’ teams would only play against each other for the second half of the season, which would create more attractive and competitive games and increase live ticket sales and raise television ratings on the major networks. The 14 ‘B’ teams would also only play against each other the second half of the season but the top 2 ‘B’ teams and bottom 2 ‘A’ teams in each conference would compete in a play-in tournament for the final two playoff spots.
This is just one idea how the NBA could restructure future regular seasons and playoffs to improve competition, sell more tickets, and raise TV ratings by expanding playoff opportunities and creating more attractive matchups. If the league’s season restart plan is successful, it could be a blueprint how the NBA could improve its product and chart a course to regain momentum lost due the China crisis, coronavirus pandemic, and diluted matchups.
That’s why the season restart experiment planned for Orlando is so critical for the league. The NBA not only needs the revenue finishing the regular season and playoffs will generate but also the blueprint it could portend.
The Lakers title hopes face three challenges: surviving a coronavirus forced suspension of the season, surviving an untested bubble in the epicenter of a pandemic, and then winning an NBA championship with a […]
The Lakers title hopes face three challenges: surviving a coronavirus forced suspension of the season, surviving an untested bubble in the epicenter of a pandemic, and then winning an NBA championship with a depleted squad.
After comfortably beating the Bucks and Clippers in a weekend sweep that catapulted them to the top of the league power rankings, the Lakers seemed poised to roll through the playoffs and win their 17th NBA championship. But that was a ‘then’ rudely replaced with a ‘now’ dominated by a growing pandemic, cratering economy, and protests of racial injustice forcing the league and players to seriously question whether to resume the season.
That confluence of events has already led Davis Bertans, Trevor Ariza, and Avery Bradley to decide not to join their teammates in Orlando. By the end of the day, others players like Dwight Howard may also decide not to play. Meanwhile, teams and players are complaining the bubble is too limited or too restrictive, worrying about getting injured or catching Covid-19, and questioning the optics of a bunch of black NBA players locked in a bubble.
Let’s look at the first challenge the Lakers must survive to win their 17th championship. Could rising numbers of new Covid-19 cases in Florida or players testing positive derail plans to resume the season and playoffs? While that’s possible, the financial repercussions for the league and the players would be disastrous. The networks would cancel all TV contracts, the NBA would void the CBA, and both sides would lose billions.
While conditions could worsen over the next two weeks, the realistic chances the NBA will cancel their current plans to resume the season are slim and none. We may see changes but there’s too much at stake to cancel. The league is counting on the bubble to protect the players from contracting the virus and testing to enable them to control its spread. Even players who have tested positive like Nikola Jokic should have time to recover and play.
As for complaints about the bubble, the league still has a couple of weeks to work with the players and Disney World workers to resolve their concerns. Expect an expanded bubble to protect more players, workers, and families. The stakes are so high the league will spend whatever it needs to satisfy all of stakeholders necessary for the resumption of the season and the playoffs to happen. The adverse impact of cancelling the season will demand it.
Once the challenges of coronavirus and the bubble have been resolve, the Lakers will get their opportunity to win their 17th championship, though without guard Avery Bradley and maybe even center Dwight Howard. While Bradley and Howard were integral contributors during the regular season, the Lakers have able guard replacements for Avery and already plan for Anthony Davis to play increased minutes at center going forward.
So while the Lakers would certainly have preferred to have Bradley on the roster, his or Dwight Howard’s absence would not be enough to prevent the Lakers from reaching their goal and winning their 17th NBA championship.
There are more popular and obvious candidates to become the Los Angeles Lakers’ point guard of the future but none would be a better fit or more perfect complement to LeBron James and Anthony Davis than Lonzo B […]
There are more popular and obvious candidates to become the Los Angeles Lakers’ point guard of the future but none would be a better fit or more perfect complement to LeBron James and Anthony Davis than Lonzo Ball.
While he needs to be a better free throw shooter and pick-and-roll passer, there’s no young point guard who combines Lonzo’s physical size, defensive chops, playmaking skills, rebounding, 3-point shooting, and court savvy. While salary cap considerations required the Lakers to send Ball rather than Kuzma to the Pelicans in their trade for Anthony Davis last year, there’s a possibility the Lakers could bring Lonzo Ball back this coming offseason.
New Orleans wants to pull off a blockbuster trade for Bradley Beal this offseason to create a true superstar Big Three with Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson and transform the Pelicans into championship contenders. The problem is the Wizards are going to want more than just Jrue Holiday and pieces and picks as part of any mega trade with the Pelicans. They’re going to want Brandon Ingram or an equivalent package of young talent.
That’s where the Lakers could jump into the picture as a third team with front office relationships with the Pelicans and Wizards and trading chips that might be of interest to the Wizards to facilitate a blockbuster trade. While the Lakers lack the assets to acquire Beal, they have their first round pick and a talented pair of prospects the Wizards could be intrigued with based on their success with other young players acquired from the Lakers.
The proposed trade would have the Lakers sending veterans Rajon Rondo and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope to the Pelicans and youngsters Kyle Kuzma and Talen Horton-Tucker plus 2020 first round pick rights to the Wizards. Conversely, the Pelicans would return guards Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart to the Lakers and send Jrue Holiday to the Wizards while Washington shipped 27-year old sharp-shooting small forward Davis Bertans to the Lakers.
While the Lakers’ main target in the proposed trade would be point guard Lonzo Ball, the opportunity to acquire elite sharp shooter Davis Bertans and valuable role player Josh Hart would be the key to LA making the deal. Several contract issues would need to be resolved for the transaction to happen, including Rondo and Caldwell-Pope not exercising player options and Bertans and the Lakers agreeing to a new contract since he’s an UFA.
The trade should prove to be a win-win deal for all three teams. The Lakers would upgrade their roster with a trio of talented young stars to fill their needs for a starting point guard and more depth while keeping their core. Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart, and Davis Bertans are all better three-point shooters and more versatile fits for the Lakers’ roster than youngsters Kyle Kuzma and Talen Horton-Tucker or vets Rajon Rondo or Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.
The Pelicans get the superstar guard they needed in Beal to go with future superstars Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson without having to give up their treasure chest of draft picks and young talent, most notably Ingram. The addition of quality vets Rajon Rondo and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope not only give them two players who can mentor and help their young players grow and develop but also give them some proven talent to win games now.
The Wizards could end up being the biggest winners of in the mega trade swap of Bradley Beal for Jrue Holiday as it will save them over $45 million in salaries because of the one less year and lower salaries due to Holiday. Those savings plus two promising young stars in Kyle Kuzma and Talen Horton-Tucker plus three first round picks fit perfectly with Washington’s need to start acquiring assets for the rebuild of the Wizard’s franchise.
Blockbuster trades rarely helps all the teams get better but this trade could transform the Lakers into a dynasty, catapult the Pelicans into a contender, and give the Wizards the young talent and draft picks for a great rebuild.
While the NBA’s always been a leader in allowing its players to raise their voices against racial injustice, the time has now come for the league to take a stronger stand and support its players in a push for m […]
While the NBA’s always been a leader in allowing its players to raise their voices against racial injustice, the time has now come for the league to take a stronger stand and support its players in a push for major social change.
No professional sports league has as high a percentage of black players, as supportive a culture, or as progressive a commissioner as the NBA, whose owners and players have worked together tirelessly to build bonds of trust. Threatened by a deadly pandemic with dire economic consequences and a plague of police brutality that has players questioning whether to play, the league must find new ways to support the fight against racial injustice.
The current protests over the blatant murders of black men have touched the hearts and minds of people in America and around the world unlike any of the prior situations and are not going to go away without major change. If the NBA wants players to welcome returning to play in Orlando, they need to come up with a serious program the players will wholeheartedly embrace to support the cause of Black Lives Matter and racial justice.
With that in mind, here are some suggestions the NBA should consider which would give the players a powerful platform to promote Black Lives Matter and a strong motivation and justification for returning to play:
1. Dedicate the resumption of the NBA season and playoffs to BLM.
2. Have everybody present kneel before each game to honor BLM.
3. Contribute 10% of all television and radio proceeds to BLM.
4. Require advertisers to make similar 10% contributions to BLM.
5. Add BLM patches to all NBA jerseys worn by players and sold to fans.
6. Invite black celebrities to talk about BLM in special pre-game shows.
7. Invite black entertainers to create special BLM halftime shows.
8. Have top players of each game talk about BLM in post-game show.
9. Sell 1,000 special specially protected BLM seats for each game.
10. Auction actual player uniforms and memorabilia from each game.
These are just ten ideas I came up with off the top of my head but I’m sure the professional marketing staffs of the NBA and the teams could find even more ways to support their black players and promote Black Lives Matter. Ultimately, the goal is motivate the players to return to play in Orlando and give them a powerful platform with which to support and raise money and awareness for Black Lives Matter to create and support social change.
With America and the world coming together in a unprecedented moment of universal support for Black Lives Matter and rejection of racial injustice, black NBA players are struggling to decide how they should move […]
With America and the world coming together in a unprecedented moment of universal support for Black Lives Matter and rejection of racial injustice, black NBA players are struggling to decide how they should move forward.
At the heart of the decision facing black NBA players is whether to agree to the NBA’s proposed plans to resume play in Orlando beginning July 31st. While some are eager to return playing, others appear to be reluctant. While the NBA has been a poster child for owners and players working together, the lack of agreement about returning to play among the players could threaten both the current season as well as the future of the NBA.
Should enough players decide not to play, the NBA would likely be forced to cancel the season and playoffs, which would inevitably lead to the owners using Force Majeure to terminate the Collective Bargaining Agreement. That would force the owners and player to renegotiate a new CBA and could end up with the league and the players cancelling this season and next season, which would mean massive financial losses for both sides.
Right now, black players seem to be split into multiple groups. Some prominent players like Lakers’ superstar LeBron James sincerely believe playing in Orlando won’t deter their “ability to continue inspiring change.” James, of course, is naturally focused on leading the favored Lakers to their 17th NBA championship and winning his fourth ring so the last thing he wants is to lose that opportunity by having the season cancelled.
Others like Dwight Howard believe “basketball isn’t needed at this moment” and would only distract from progress being made by the protests and “start a trickle-down effect” that could undermine the power of the moment. Howard’s willing to make the sacrifice: “I would love nothing more than to win my very first NBA Championship, but the unity of My People would be an even bigger Championship, that’s just too beautiful to pass up.”
The Nets’ Kyrie Irving has taken the narrative to another different level and is outwardly distrustful of the NBA and contends “something smells fishy” about the league’s plans to resume play, which the players should boycott. Irving’s sincerity could be questioned since he’s also currently injured and would not be able to return until next season and enjoys the security of a recently signed lucrative long term contract with the Brooklyn Nets.
There’s also a group who are genuinely concerned about the potential risks of major injury due to returning to play so soon after the long layoff or contracting Covid-19 as a result of playing in the middle of a pandemic. Finally, there are others concerned about the bubble and the stringent rules that will have to be enforced in Orlando to keep players safe and healthy and don’t want to be locked up in isolation for such a long period of time.
There’s so much financially at stake it’s hard to imagine the NBA owners and the various groups of players not being able to find common ground to keep the plans to resume the season in Orlando on schedule as planned. And as monumental as the promise of progress towards racial justice is, black NBA players must ultimately know a basketball hungry fanbase and media provide the best possible platform for promoting their cause.
What’s happening around the country and the world today with the protests and support to end racial injustice and inequity offers black NBA players an opportunity to unite to use their voices to support major change.
Should the NBA expand team rosters for the rest of the season and playoffs from 15 to 17 players, the Los Angeles Lakers would be wise to use one of the two additional roster slots to sign DeMarcus Cousins as a […]
Should the NBA expand team rosters for the rest of the season and playoffs from 15 to 17 players, the Los Angeles Lakers would be wise to use one of the two additional roster slots to sign DeMarcus Cousins as a free agent.
While we don’t know whether Cousins has recovered from his injuries, there’s a chance he could be ready to play since he was on schedule to return mid-June and the playoffs have been postponed until mid-August. The reasons for signing Boogie if the league expands rosters when play resumes goes beyond the help he might provide on the court. It’s about building a sustainable championship dynasty around LeBron and AD.
Returning from the multiple major injuries Cousins suffered may be a long shot but it’s one the Lakers embraced and doubled down on by keeping him on the roster most of the season until waiving him to sign Markieff Morris. While many doubt Boogie can ever recover to be anything close to the superstar he was, the Lakers obviously believe he’s a risk worth taking so using an extra roster spot to sign him as a free agent should be a slam dunk.
Like the decision to keep him on the roster after his injury last summer, the Lakers are pursuing Boogie more for his fit as a stretch five center alongside Anthony Davis next season than any hopes he can contribute this season. Even though it may be a long shot he could come back and help the Lakers win a championship, here are four solid reasons why the Lakers should sign DeMarcus Cousins as a free agent if the league expands the roster spots:
1. Signing Boogie could help the Lakers win the championship.
Talk about bad luck, DeMarcus Cousins has had more than his share. After earning an All-Star selection his first season with the New Orleans Pelicans, Boogie was on the precipice of huge payday when everything went bad.
The chances of Boogie coming back and playing this season may be just a pipe dream but, if healthy, his ability to stretch defenses as a stretch five with his three-point shooting could help the Lakers win the championship. The two extra months he has because of the coronavirus suspension could be the catalyst to Cousins being able to help the Lakers against teams like the Bucks and Clippers who like to pack it in against LeBron and AD.
Bottom line, the Lakers could bring Boogie along slowly with a goal for him to be their wild card when they face the Clippers in the West Conference Finals in mid-September or the Bucks in the NBA Finals in early October.
2. Signing Boogie could be insurance if McGee or Howard goes down.
With the NBA regular season and playoffs scheduled to resume in the middle of a coronavirus pandemic likely still to be raging, the Lakers and other teams need to face the reality players may get injured or test positive.
Should one of the Lakers’ two centers JaVale McGee or Dwight Howard get injured or test positive for Covid-19, the Lakers’ chances of winning an NBA championship could be in serious jeopardy without a capable replacement. Signing DeMarcus Cousins as insurance would be smart. He spent most of the season with the Lakers, knows the players and coaches, and would be the perfect backup to step in and replace McGee or Howard if needed.
The main purpose of the league expanding team rosters is for teams to add insurance players in case multiple players on their roster get injured or test positive for Covid-19. That’s exactly why the Lakers should sign Cousins.
3. Signing Boogie could strengthen the Lakers’ team chemistry.
Team chemistry is going to be a huge factor when the games resume, especially with all teams in the bubble, no crowds, and no home court advantage. Teams with weak chemistry are going to quickly wilt.
Even if he rarely plays, DeMarcus Cousins on the bench could really help the Lakers team chemistry. He has close relationships with key players on the team, including LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Rajon Rondo. There’s also a chance cheering from the bench may be the best substitute for the missing crowds of fans as teams play in empty arenas and the Lakers’ bench may be the league’s most vocal and demonstrative bunch.
In a normal season, the playoffs are an arduous grind. In the middle of a pandemic where everybody gets tested daily, the pressures are going to be intense and adding Boogie to the Lakers’ bench could be a smart move.
4. Signing Boogie could guarantee the Lakers sign him next season.
When push comes to shove, guaranteeing DeMarcus Cousins would sign with the Lakers for the 2020–21 season would be reason enough alone to sign him as a free agent for the rest of this season even if he doesn’t play.
There’s a reason why the Lakers kept Boogie on the roster for most of this season despite knowing his injury history and the likelihood that he would not be able to play until next season. He is the perfect fit to play with AD. Anybody who thinks the Lakers don’t understand the medical challenges Cousins faces to return to 80% of the superstar he used to be is blind. The Lakers know the odds may be long but the reward would be incredible.
The Lakers are playing chess while the rest of the league plays checkers. That’s why, if the league expands the roster spots for the rest of this season and the playoffs, the Lakers are going to sign Boogie as a free agent.
While the Lakers’ championship hopes likely depend on LeBron James and Anthony Davis, winning this season’s crazy playoffs could hang on the play of a surprise wild card like Kyle Kuzma, Dion Waiters, or DeM […]
While the Lakers’ championship hopes likely depend on LeBron James and Anthony Davis, winning this season’s crazy playoffs could hang on the play of a surprise wild card like Kyle Kuzma, Dion Waiters, or DeMarcus Cousins.
The NBA has never had a wilder, more unpredictable playoffs in its history. Coronavirus has not only disrupted the regular season but also forced a new unorthodox playoff scheme with 22 teams playing in a bubble in Orlando. Initiating an unproven, expanded playoffs with three evenly matched teams and five top superstars playing in a pandemic under threat of suspension if testing positive could likely to lead to bizzare and unexpected outcomes.
With an 8-game regular season and extended playoffs that could last two and a half months, we could easily see scenarios where multiple players on contending teams tested positive for Covid-19 and had to be suspended. Teams could conceivably end up having to rely on key role players or even two-way players or unheralded subs from the ends of their benches to step up while waiting for stars to test negative and be allowed to return to play.
For the Lakers, here are three players who could end up being invaluable wild cards should LeBron James, Anthony Davis, or another starter or key role player test positive for Covid-19 and get suspended during the playoffs:
1. Small Forward Kyle Kuzma.
Kyle Kuzma has become the forgotten man on the Lakers. Most pundits have already traded him this offseason and nobody expects him to be a major factor in the Lakers and winning their 17th NBA championship.
Kuzma averaged 12.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 1.3 assists in 24.6 minutes per game vs. 18.7 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 2.5 assists in 33.1 minutes per game last season. He shot 42.3/29.7/73.8% vs. 45.6/30.3/75.2 last year. He only started 7 of 54 games this year vs. starting 68 of 70 games last year but did average 20.3 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 2.1 assists in 32.7 minutes in the game he started, making him a prime candidate to step up if needed.
Kyle Kuzma could be a wild card as a key contributor off the bench playing starter minutes or substitute starting small or power forward should LeBron James or Anthony Davis get injured or test positive during the playoffs.
2. Shooting Guard Dion Waiters.
The suspension of the NBA season because Rudy Gobert tested positive happened before Dion Waiters, who had signed with the team as a free agent, had an opportunity to show the Lakers what he could contribute.
The league’s three month hiatus hopefully gave Waiters valuable time to get his conditioning back and be ready to be a major contributor as a potential third scorer and second playmaker for the Lakers heading into the playoffs. While Dion only played 3 games for the Heat this season, he averaged 12.0 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 2.8 assists in 25.9 minutes last season and 14.3 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 3.8 assists in 30.6 minutes the previous season.
Finally given the time to get healthy, Dion Waiters has the scoring mentality and playmaking skills to be the wild card third scorer and second playmaker the Lakers need to fill the holes in their roster and win a championship.
3. Center DeMarcus Cousins.
Back in February, Lakers’ head coach Frank Vogel said there was a chance DeMarcus Cousins could return to play by June. Now with the playoffs not scheduled to start until mid-July, could Cousins’ return be an option?
While Boogie would have to be completely recovered, in playoff shape, and capable of playing at 70 to 80% of his preinjury level, his return could give the Lakers the stretch five center they need against the Bucks and Clippers. With the NBA relaxing rules to allow teams to sign free agents to replace players lost due to positive tests for Covid-19, Cousins could be a valuable wild card if McGee or Howard were to got injured or tested positive.
Boogie returning may be a long shot but there are real risks of players getting injured or infected with coronavirus during this year’s playoffs and the Lakers would be wise to have a good backup center ready and wating.
The Los Angeles Lakers’ impressive back-to-back wins over the Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Clippers before coronavirus stopped play provided the blueprint they need to follow to win their 17th NBA c […]
The Los Angeles Lakers’ impressive back-to-back wins over the Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Clippers before coronavirus stopped play provided the blueprint they need to follow to win their 17th NBA championship.
While there are wild card games where good teams will win or lose the battle of the boards, assists, turnovers, points in the paint, fast break points, or other metrics, championship teams usually develop a winning formula. Reviewing the stats from their statement wins over the Bucks and Clippers before the league suspended play highlights the four points the Lakers should adopt as their blueprint for winning a 17th NBA championship:
1. Put the Focus on Defense.
The key to the Lakers’ wins over the Bucks and Clippers was defense and that needs to be their focus to win their record 17th NBA championship. Those two wins were proof defense still wins championships in the NBA.
It’s not a coincidence the five teams with the best win-loss records in the NBA— the Bucks, Lakers, Raptors, Clippers, and Celtics — also happen to be the five teams who possessed the best defensive ratings in the league. The three-month disruption of the season due to the coronavirus pandemic combined with all games now being played at a neutral site in Orlando guarantees defense will be an even bigger factor during this year’s playoffs.
While the Lakers’ 104.7 offensive rating against the Bucks and Clippers was lower than their 4th-ranked 112.6 for the season, their elite 96.3 defensive rating for the two wins clearly bested their 3rd-ranked 105.5 for the season. Though they shot a poor 43.3% from the field and 23.9% from deep versus season averages of 48.5% and 35.5%, the Lakers won both games, holding the Bucks and Clippers to 40.6% from the field and 25.7% from deep.
The blueprint for the Lakers to win their 17th NBA championship and tie the Celtics for most in the NBA starts with playing the same elite defense they played back in March when they dominated the Bucks and Clippers.
2. Play More Small Ball.
One of the strategic adjustments helping the Lakers beat the Bucks and Clippers was going small with Anthony Davis or Markieff Morris at the five instead of traditional low post centers JaVale McGee or Dwight Howard.
Playing small ball almost 50% the time in the two games versus just 42% during the season, the Lakers were able to counter the Bucks’ and Clippers’ drop coverage and create open lanes for LeBron and AD to attack the paint. While they did not shoot well from beyond the arc, the Lakers’ small ball attack did succeed in spreading the opposing defenses to allow James and Davis to successfully attack the rim, especially in the fourth quarter.
Not surprisingly, four of five-man lineups with the highest net ratings used by the Lakers in the two games against the Bucks and Clippers were small ball lineups featuring Anthony Davis or Markieff Morris playing stretch five. As expected, the two five-man lineups used most by the Lakers in the fourth quarter of those games featured Davis or Morris at the five and averaged 118.85 offensively and 74.65 defensively for an elite net rating of 44.2.
The Lakers’ strategy all season was for JaVale McGee and Dwight Howard to cover most of the center minutes to keep Anthony Davis fresh and healthy for the playoffs and then to unleash him at the five once the playoffs began.
3. Dominate the Second Half.
Knowing how to finish games has always been a key to winning in the NBA and the Los Angeles Lakers’ second half domination against the Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Clippers was integral to their winning those games.
As is the case with many hard fought games, especially in the playoffs, the first halves of the Bucks’ and Clippers’ games were close, with the Lakers and Bucks tied 48–48 and the Lakers trailing the Clippers 53–49 at the half. But in both games, the Lakers came out, took control, and dominated the second halves to win comfortably, outscoring the Bucks 65–55 to seal the 113–103 win and outscoring the Clippers 63–50 to cinch a 112–103 win.
The Lakers’ impressive second half 121.9 offensive rating, 101.0 defensive rating, and 20.9 net rating for the two games confirmed their domination of the Bucks and Clippers in major statement games versus their top rivals. After shooting just 36.4% from the field and 14.3% from deep in the first half, of the two games, the Lakers rebounded to finish strong, shooting 50% from the field and 34.4% from deep in the second halves to win going away.
The ability to build and hold a lead in the second halves of games is one of the characteristics of championship teams and one the Los Angeles Lakers, with their two superstars and veteran supporting cast, clearly possess.
4. Win the Superstar Battle.
Championships in professional basketball always seem to come down to which team wins the battle of the superstars and there is no better superstar duo in today’s NBA than the Lakers’ LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
The Lakers’ comfortable victories over the Bucks and Clippers in their most recent matchups clearly demonstrated why James and Davis were a better superstar duo than Antetokounmpo and Middleton or Leonard and George. For the two games, LeBron averaged 32.5 points, 8.0 rebounds, and 8.0 assists with an elite 84.0 defensive rating while AD averaged 30.0 points, 8.0 rebounds, and 1.0 assists with an excellent 102.2 defensive rating.
In the win against the Bucks, LeBron James and Anthony Davis combined for 67 points, 17 rebounds, and 8 assists while Giannis Antetokounmpo and Chris Middleton combined for only 44 points, 16 rebounds, and 10 assists. In the win against the Clippers, LeBron James and Anthony Davis combined for 58 points, 13 rebounds, and 11 assists while Kawhi Leonard and Paul George matched their 58 points but only posted 8 rebounds and 3 assists.
Superstars win championships and the Lakers duo is the best on the planet. Leading the Lakers to their 17th NBA championship would catapult LeBron James and Anthony Davis into consideration as the best due in NBA history.
The Los Angeles Lakers could have a unique opportunity to steal a top free agent this offseason due to a perfect storm of events that could give several elite players leverage to force their teams to make […]
The Los Angeles Lakers could have a unique opportunity to steal a top free agent this offseason due to a perfect storm of events that could give several elite players leverage to force their teams to make sign-and-trade deals.
The key events unlocking this opportunity for the Lakers teams are the presence of teams unwilling to reward their free agents and the absence of winning teams with the cap space to sign them as unrestricted free agents. The only way for these free agents to get paid what they’re worth and end up playing for a winning team is to use the threat of signing as free agents to force their teams to sign-and-trade them to avoid losing them for nothing.
Because all of these players are unrestricted free agents, there are no rules preventing the Lakers from contacting their agents and offering more than their teams would be willing to pay to set the stage for a sign-and-trade. With Kyle Kuzma’s rookie contract, $20 million in expiring contracts, and their 2020 first round pick, the Lakers have exactly what teams looking to avoid long term commitments would want to make a sign-and-trade deal.
Here are the four top free agents the Lakers could steal with sign-and-trade deals. All four are proven young players with upside who could be valuable trading chips in a future sign-and-trade deal for an available superstar.
1. Toronto Raptors Point Guard Fred Van Fleet
Fred VanVleet is a 26-year old point guard who averaged 17.6 points, 6.6 assists, and 3.8 rebounds in 35.8 minutes per game for the Toronto Raptors. He earned $9.3M last year and should see that jump to $15M to $18M.
VanVleet would fill the Lakers need for a 3rd scorer and 2nd playmaker. Lakers could offer Fred $21M per year for 3 years in a sign-and-trade for Kyle Kuzma ($2M), Danny Green ($15M), and their 2020 first round pick.
2. Brooklyn Nets Shooting Guard Joe Harris
Joe Harris is a 28-year old shooting guard who averaged 13.9 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 2.1 assists in 30.9 minutes per game for the Brooklyn Nets. He earned $7.7M last year and should see that jump to $12M to 15M.
Harris is an elite 3-point shooter who’d fill the Lakers need for a 3rd scorer. Lakers could offer Joe $18M per year for 3 years in a sign and trade deal for Kyle Kuzma ($2M), Danny Green ($15M), and their 2020 first round pick.
3. Detroit Pistons Power Forward Christian Wood
Christian Wood is a 24-year old power forward who averaged 13.1 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 1.0 assist in 21.4 minutes per game for the Detroit Pistons. He earned $1.6M last year and that could jump to $15M to $18M.
Wood is the biggest gamble but also has potential to be a star. The Lakers could offer Christian $20M per year for 3 years in a sign-and-trade for Kyle Kuzma ($2M), Danny Green ($15M), and their 2020 first round pick.
4. Los Angeles Clippers Power Forward Montrezl Harrell
Montrezl Harrell is a 26-year old power forward who averaged 18.6 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 1.7 assists in 27.8 minutes per game for the LA Clippers. He earned $6M last year and that could jump to $18M to $20M.
Harrell is a Klutch Sports client and top candidate for 6MOY. The Lakers could offer Montrezl $22M per year for 3 years in a sign-and-trade for Kyle Kuzma ($2M), Danny Green ($15M), and their 2020 first round pick.
The Miami Heat and perennial losing teams like the Atlanta Hawks, Detroit Pistons, New York Knicks, Charlotte Hornets, and Phoenix Suns are the only NBA teams with the cap space to sign a $20M free agent this offseason. That means top free agent players like Fred VanVleet, Joe Harris, Christian Wood, and Montrezl Harrell are going to have to get creative if they want to get paid and play for an NBA team with a chance to win a championship.
While the Raptors, Nets, Pistons, and Clippers have Bird rights to sign VanVleet, Harris, Wood, and Harrell, the Pistons are the only team that is likely to offer a market value contract to their talented young free agent. That opens the door for the Lakers and other playoff teams to steal one of these young stars by offering their team the opportunity to get something back via a sign-and-trade instead of losing the player for nothing.
With revenues plummeting due the Covid-19 pandemic and recession, the rich teams in the NBA are just going to get richer and the poor teams poorer. This offseason, the Lakers will be hungry sharks on the prowl.
Barring a devastating reignition of the coronavirus pandemic, the good news is the NBA is going to resume the season. The bad news, however, is nobody knows what the resumption of the season is going to look […]
Barring a devastating reignition of the coronavirus pandemic, the good news is the NBA is going to resume the season. The bad news, however, is nobody knows what the resumption of the season is going to look like.
Fortunately, it looks like we’re not going to have to wait much longer to find out exactly how, where, and when the league will resume the season as the Board of Governors will approve plans to proceed this coming Thursday. The league surveyed teams’ general managers whether to finish the regular season with more games, conduct a play-in tournament, or go straight into the playoffs and whether to seed the playoffs or stick with conferences.
While nobody knows for sure what Adam Silver will recommend, Twitter is flooded with rumors as to what his plan will include. Using that info and common sense, here’s my take on what Silver’s plan might look like:
What do we know?
- The teams are ready to approve the plan commissioner Adam Silver recommends. The owners understand this a challenging time for the league and completely trust Silver to make right decisions.
- The season is scheduled to resume on Friday, July 31st, which gives the league time both to prepare to play as well as time to finish the playoffs and offseason in time to start next season on Christmas Day.
- Disney World in Orlando appears to be the likely venue for all games to be played to create a controlled bubble where players, coaches, key personnel, and their families can be safely isolated and protected.
What can we surmise?
- There’s a good chance there will be some form of play-in tournament, most likely involving the two teams holding the eighth playoff slot in each conference and the six teams who are within six games of them.
- There’s a good chance playoff teams will be seeded 1–16 based on record regardless of conference since five of the six team within six games of a playoff spot are in the West and only one in the East.
What remains unknown?
- Whether there will be additional regular season games to meet the 70-game minimum on team local television contracts since most teams had only played 63 to 66 games before the season was suspended.
- Whether playoff rules will be changed so teams can carry two-way players in addition to the 15 players on the roster and whether teams can designate more than the 13 players to be active for games.
Who wins and who loses?
- The winners would be the six teams — Blazers, Pelicans, Kings, Spurs, Suns, and Wizards — who get a shot at making the playoffs and the Lakers, who will be in a separate bracket from the Bucks and Clippers.
- The Losers would be the Grizzlies and Magic, who instead of making the playoffs would now have to participate in an 8-team play-in tournament and the Bucks and Clippers who will be in the same bracket.
- The teams are ready to approve the plan commissioner Adam Silver recommends. The owners understand this a challenging time for the league and completely trust Silver to make right decisions.
Toronto Raptors’ free agent point guard Fred VanVleet was looking forward to getting paid this offseason after enjoying his best season in the NBA by averaging a career best 17.6 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 6.6 a […]
Toronto Raptors’ free agent point guard Fred VanVleet was looking forward to getting paid this offseason after enjoying his best season in the NBA by averaging a career best 17.6 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 6.6 assists per game.
Unfortunately, timing is everything and despite being one of the players leading the Raptors to the second best record in the East and third best record in the NBA, Fred’s chances of a big pay day don’t look promising. Currently making less than $10 million per year, VanVleet’s hopes for a multi-year contract paying more than $20 million per year may have been crushed by the league’s mounting losses due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Complicating the situation even more, the Raptors may not be willing to pay Fred the $15 to $18 million that most pundits are predicting he’s likely to be offered on the free agent market by teams like the Detroit Pistons. After signing Pascal Siakam to a max contract, the Raptors are looking to clear cap space to pursue Giannis Antetokounmpo next offseason and aren’t willing to sign long term contracts with any player other than OG Anunoby.
With the Miami Heat being the only non-losing team with cap space to sign VanVleet to big contract, there might be an opportunity for the Lakers to swoop in and steal Fred VanVleet in a sign-and-trade deal with Toronto. While the Lakers don’t have the cap space to sign Fred as a free agent, here are five reasons why they should pursue a sign-and-trade deal to send Kyle Kuzma, Danny Green, and their 2020 first round draft pick for VanVleet:
1. Championship Point Guard
Fred VanVleet proved in last year’s NBA Finals that he is a championship caliber point guard, averaging 14.0points, 2.2assists, and 2.7rebounds while shooting 44.4/40.0/85.7% and even receiving a vote for Finals MVP.
2. Proven Clutch Scorer
VanVleet was the star in the Raptors series clinching win in Game 6 of last year’s finals when he scored a career playoff best 22 points including 12 clutch points in the fourth quarter to lead Toronto to their first title.
3. Tough Relentless Defender
Fred VanVleet is not just a one-way player as he proved in last year’s Finals when he hounded and harrassed Warriors’ superstar Steph Curry in the Raptors 4–2 triumph forcing him into tough shots and turnovers.
4. Has Not Reached His Peak
Just a 26-year old who has improved every major stat in each of his four NBA seasons, VanVleet could give the Lakers a second young star to play with LeBron James and create a bridge to the future with Anthony Davis.
5. Trading Chip for Giannis
Giving VanVleet a 3-year contract at $20 million per year would help the Lakers’ chances of winning championships plus give them an valuable trading chip in a potential sign-and-trade deal for Giannis Antetokounmpo.
While Fred VanVleet wants to get paid, I believe he also wants to win. To me, that means he would likely be very interested if the Lakers were to approach him about a possible 3-year sign-and-trade deal for $60 million. Since Green’s $15 million expiring contract wouldn’t hurt their plans to chase Giannis, the Raptors would get a young star in Kuzma plus a first round draft pick for a player they were going to let walk for nothing.
Meanwhile, the Lakers would upgrade their roster with a talented two-way point guard who would fill their urgent need for a third scorer and second playmaker to complement superstars LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
Pro sports is replete with key moments or tuning points that transformed careers and changed legacies of players and teams. LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and the Los Angeles Lakers find themselves at one of those […]
Pro sports is replete with key moments or tuning points that transformed careers and changed legacies of players and teams. LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and the Los Angeles Lakers find themselves at one of those moments.
With the coronavirus pandemic not only threatening the current season but also the future of how we watch and enjoy NBA basketball, the legacies of LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and the Los Angeles Lakers are on the line. Whether they have an opportunity to resume play and how they perform under unexpected and unpredictable situations will go a long way towards determining how sports history views them as players and as a team.
For 35-year old LeBron James, missing a golden opportunity to win his first championship as a Laker and fourth overall would be a big disappointment while winning would add major credence to his drive to be the best ever. And it would unlock the door to the possibility of winning a second and third championship in purple and gold to not only solidify James’ position as a Lakers great but also launch him on a path to replace Jordan as GOAT.
Meanwhile, winning his first championship would solidify chances Anthony Davis would sign with the Lakers long term and give him a boost in the competition to assume the crown as the best player of the next decade. Helping lead the Lakers to the championship over the Clippers and Bucks could elevate Davis to the level of the Leonard and Antetokounmpo and give him a head start on surpassing them in the race for 2020’s supremacy.
As for the Los Angeles Lakers, winning their 17th championship would tie them with their rival Boston Celtics for the most NBA championships and make them the odds on favorites to repeat and attract another superstar. The Lakers winning could also conceivably trigger Giannis Antetokounmpo to decline a supermax offer from the Bucks this offseason to become a free agent the following offseason and possibly sign with the purple and gold.
Every great superstar legacy and franchise dynasty has been launched by a memorable title triumph and winning a championship this season could be the key to unlock the door to greatness for LeBron, AD, and the Lakers.
This is the last in a series of six articles about the top NBA superstars who hope to dethrone King James as the best player on the planet over the next decade. Here are links to our five previous articles […]
This is the last in a series of six articles about the top NBA superstars who hope to dethrone King James as the best player on the planet over the next decade. Here are links to our five previous articles covering Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Durant, Anthony Davis, and Luka Doncic.
Heralded by everyone as the next LeBron James coming out of high school, the 6' 6", 280 lb 19-year old Zion Williamson has the freakish athleticism and otherworldly physicality the NBA has not seen since LeBron James.
The challenge for Zion to become the new king of the decade is he’s just 19 years old, not even a full season out of high school, and is likely going to need a few years to develop his game and grow into a legitimate superstar. The torn meniscus he suffered in his right knee that cost him half of his rookie season only added to the concerns certain experts had about his possible propensity to get injured because of his style of play and weight.
Despite missing the first half of the season and playing in only 19 games before the season was suspended, Zion Williamson gave fans good reasons to believe all of the hype about him being the next LeBron James were real. He not only showed flashes of the athleticism and physicality that had made him the unquestioned number one pick in the draft but also an impressive ability to shoot well from three-point range he never displayed in college.
While it may take some a couple of years to get going, Zion has the raw physical talent and athleticism to elevate his game to a level few superstars could match and is surrounded on the Pelicans by a talented young roster. Five years from now, it’s possible he could be the best player and the Pelicans one of the best teams in the league but prevailing as best player of the decade won’t be easy playing in a small market like New Orleans.
As the assumed heir apparent to LeBron James, many NBA pundits believe uber talented Zion Williamson is destined to take over the throne and rule the decade of the 2020’s much as the King presided over the 2010’s.
This is the 5th in a series of six articles about the top NBA superstars who hope to dethrone King James as the best player on the planet over the next decade. Here are links to our four previous articles […]
This is the 5th in a series of six articles about the top NBA superstars who hope to dethrone King James as the best player on the planet over the next decade. Here are links to our four previous articles covering Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Durant, and Anthony Davis.
Luka Doncic looks more like the NBA version of ‘White Men Can’t Jump’ than a legit candidate to defeat an elite cast of athletically gifted superstars like Giannis, Kawhi, and KD to become best player of the next decade.
But looks can be deceiving and the 6' 7", 230 lb 21-year old Luka’s dramatic rise to superstar status and head-to-head exploits against proven superstars like LeBron, Giannis, and Kawhi in two short seasons have turned heads. Luka could finish the decade in the heart of his prime while competitors could be winding down their careers, bolstering the idea Doncic could be the dark horse winner in the race to be king of the NBA for the 2020's.
To reach those heights, the Luka and KP Mavericks are going to have show they have the talent and drive to compete with championship competitors in the Wild West like the LeBron and AD Lakers and Kawhi and PG Clippers. The road for Luka Doncic to earn the title of king of the next decade not only requires multiple MVP awards and multiple NBA championships for the Dallas Mavs but also goes directly through the city of Los Angeles.
Luka Doncic is already putting up near triple-double superstar numbers in only his second season and nobody really knows how high his ceiling as a player may be since he is still only just 21-years old and not near his peak. Already averaging 28.7 points, 9.3 rebounds, 8,7 assists, Luka’s best could be something we haven’t seen in today’s modern NBA and could set new standards for what qualifies as superstar performance in the future.
While he might lack the supernatural physical talent of other candidates competing for king of the 2020’s, Luka Doncic with his savvy court sense and smarts might turn out to be the best basketball player of the decade.
This is the 4th in a series of six articles about the top NBA superstars who hope to dethrone King James as the best player on the planet over the next decade. Here are links to our three previous articles […]
This is the 4th in a series of six articles about the top NBA superstars who hope to dethrone King James as the best player on the planet over the next decade. Here are links to our three previous articles covering Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kawhi Leonard, and Kevin Durant.
Despite spending his first seven years with the Pelicans out of the spotlight and his year with the Lakers in the shadow of LeBron James, Anthony Davis has the physical talent and basketball skills to be king of the next decade.
Like the 25-year old Antetokounmpo, the 6' 10", 250 lb 27-year old Davis is young enough to enjoy a championship caliber career that could span the entire decade of the 2020’s much like James did for the decade of 2010’s. And unlike the 28-year Leonard or 31-year old Durant, Davis has been able to avoid suffering any major injuries and could have the opportunity to play at his highest possible level for the entire decade, including the last years.
The keys to Anthony Davis replicating LeBron James’ decade long reign as the king of the NBA will be his ability to win multiple NBA championships with the Lakers before LeBron retires and dominating the post James era. That will require the Anthony Davis and LeBron James Lakers to prevail over the Kawhi Leonard and Paul George Clippers, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton Bucks, and Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving Nets.
The challenge Anthony Davis will face to be the best player on the planet for the next decade is proving he can break out from LeBron’s shadow and lead the Lakers to championships in the 2020’s years after James has retired. Taking the torch from LeBron James as superstar leader of the Los Angeles Lakers just as LeBron James took the torch from Kobe Bryant would make Anthony Davis the favorite to take the throne as best player of his decade.
While Anthony Davis may not be the favorite for best player of the 2020’s, he has the talent and position to pass the younger Giannis Antetokounmpo as well as the older, more injury plagued Kawhi Leonard and Kevin Durant.
This is the 3rd in a series of six articles about the top NBA superstars who hope to dethrone King James as the best player on the planet over the next decade. Here are links to our two previous articles […]
This is the 3rd in a series of six articles about the top NBA superstars who hope to dethrone King James as the best player on the planet over the next decade. Here are links to our two previous articles covering Giannis Antetokounmpo and Kawhi Leonard.
A two-time NBA Finals MVP and NBA champion, Kevin Durant was another superstar whom, like Giannis Antetokounmpo and Kawhi Leonard, analysts believed had surpassed LeBron James to be the best player in the league.
Even though age and recent Achilles injury have taken some of the luster off his chances to dethrone James and become the best player of the 2020’s, the 6' 10", 240 lb 31-year old Durant cannot be discounted as a candidate. Before his injury during last year’s Finals, many experts considered Kevin to be the best player in the NBA after leading the Golden State Warriors to back-to-back championships over LeBron and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Now with his third team in twelve years, Kevin Durant has joined Kyrie Irving and a talented young Brooklyn Nets team that should be one of the favorites to challenge the Milwaukee Bucks as the best team in the East. Like Giannis and the Bucks and Kawhi and the Clippers, Kevin and the Nets will need to become a dominant team and win multiple NBA championships for him to have a chance to earn honors as the best player of the decade.
How KD recovers from his torn Achilles will determine whether he’ll be able to come back and be included in the conversation as to which superstar will assume the throne from LeBron and become the king for the next decade. The 31-year old, Durant will face an uphill battle not only to regain the transcendent ability he had before the injury but also to stay relevant and rule for an entire decade in the 2020’s as LeBron did during the 2010's.
If Kevin can fully recover from his Achilles injury and with Kyrie turn the Brooklyn Nets into an NBA long-term dynasty, he could then beat the long odds and be able to replace LeBron as the NBA king of the next decade.
This is the 2nd in a series of six articles about the top NBA superstars who hope to dethrone King James as the best player on the planet over the next decade. Here is a link to our previous article […]
This is the 2nd in a series of six articles about the top NBA superstars who hope to dethrone King James as the best player on the planet over the next decade. Here is a link to our previous article covering Giannis Antetokounmpo.
As the reigning Finals MVP and a two-time NBA champion, Kawhi Leonard is another superstar whom, like Giannis Antetokounmpo, certain analysts believe has now passed LeBron James as the best player in the NBA.
After spurning an opportunity last summer to join the Lakers and play with LeBron James and Anthony Davis, Kawhi Leonard instead charted his own path and recruited Paul George to join him in signing with the Clippers. Having already shown he can win at the highest level by leading the Spurs and the Raptors to NBA championships, Kawhi has demonstrated he’s not afraid to take risks or make controversial decisions to further his career.
The 6' 7", 225 lb 28-year old Kawhi Leonard, who is now on his third team in his nine NBA seasons, will need to avoid injury, stay healthy, and play at a high level for many more years to become the best player of this decade. Unlike Giannis and LeBron, who have never suffered a major injury, Kawhi missed almost all of the 2017-18 NBA season due to a serious quad injury and has needed extensive load management to play the last two seasons.
Avoiding another major injury and remaining healthy will be a major factor in Leonard’s quest to supplant LeBron James as the best player in the NBA over the next decade and likely why he’s not favored over Antetokounmpo. Kawhi faces a daunting challenge to become the NBA’s best player for the next decade as he will have to both overtake a still resilient LeBron James while holding back the challenge of a younger Giannis Antetokounmpo
If Kawhi can dodge injuries and elevate his game and lead the Clippers to overcome LeBron and the Lakers and Giannis and the Bucks the next two years, he would have a good start to being King of the NBA for the 2020's.
This is the 1st in a series of six articles about the top NBA superstars who hope to dethrone King James as the best player on the planet over the next decade.
As reigning MVP and odds on favorite to […]
This is the 1st in a series of six articles about the top NBA superstars who hope to dethrone King James as the best player on the planet over the next decade.
As reigning MVP and odds on favorite to repeat again this season, Giannis Antetokounmpo is the superstar most analysts believe will dethrone LeBron James as the king and best player on the planet over the next decade.
As a likely back-to-back winner of the league’s regular season MVP, some have already the anointed Giannis as the new king, although that honor is premature since he has never won a championship or made it to the Finals. While the 6' 11", 240 lb 25-year old Antetokounmpo has the physical tools and potential talent to be the next king, he’s still going to have to develop a consistent jumper and the mental toughness to win a championship.
With just seven NBA seasons under his belt, Giannis Antetokounmpo possesses the greatest physical talent and athleticism of any of the current challengers looking to dethrone LeBron James as the king of the NBA. Should he continue to hone and develop his basketball skills and grow and mature as a competitor, there’s no question Giannis has the potential to take the throne from LeBron and hold onto it for the rest of the decade.
What happens this season and next will tell us a lot about the trajectory of Giannis Antetokounmpo’s career. To take full advantage of his potential, Giannis needs to make it to the NBA Finals and ideally win a championship. While failing to reach those goals wouldn’t eliminate him from replacing LeBron, it would likely result in his leaving Milwaukee and joining a team with other superstars, which could change the dynamic of his career.
Giannis may be the favorite to become king of the NBA for the next decade but he’ll have to develop a consistent jumper and the mental toughness to win a championship and hold off a host of older and younger superstars.
With only a few bottom dwelling teams having cap space, a dearth of elite free agents, and a chance the salary cap and luxury tax limits will go down, the Lakers’ non-taxpayer MLE could suddenly become a p […]
With only a few bottom dwelling teams having cap space, a dearth of elite free agents, and a chance the salary cap and luxury tax limits will go down, the Lakers’ non-taxpayer MLE could suddenly become a powerful weapon.
Whether the league decides to use cap smoothing to limit the damage, there’s a good chance this offseason will be a sobering reminder to the NBA that business as usual is going on a two-year hiatus as the losses mount. Financial uncertainty combined with diminishing cap space is going to cause players to decline options to become free agents and many teams to look for ways to dump unproductive players with expensive contracts.
Elite free agent prospects like Fred VanVleet, Danilo Gallinari, Montrezl Harrell, or Davis Bertans are going to be forced to sign with losing teams like the Knicks, Hawks, Pistons, and Suns or seek sign-and-trade deals. Teams over the cap but under the tax threshold like the Lakers who can offer free agents their $9.7 million MLE may suddenly find themselves perfectly positioned to land players they did not expect to be able to sign.
With that in mind, let’s take a look a four talented players whom the Lakers might be able to convince to sign for their $9.7 million non-taxpayer MLE who would be great adds to their 2021 roster to help them win a championship:
1. Miami Heat Point Guard Goran Dragic
Goran Dragic is a 6' 3,” 190 lb, 34-year old fourteenth year unrestricted free agent point guard who averaged 16.1 points, 3.1 rebounds, 5.1 assists in 28.4 minutes per game as Kendrick Nunn’s backup for the Miami Heat. Coming off the bench for the first time since early in his career, Goran shot 43.7/37.7/76.9% this season, taking and making the most three pointers in his career and showing he was still capable of playing at a high level.
While Dragic made $19 million in the last year of his contract, the Heat are one of the few teams with significant cap space and will be looking to sign a second superstar to play alongside Jimmy Butler this or next offseason. That means they’re unlikely to offer Dragic anything but a 1-year deal, which could open the door for the Lakers to sign Goran with their $9.7 million MLE for an opportunity to win a ring playing with LeBron and AD.
Goran would be a perfect fit on the Lakers as the third scorer and second playmaker they desperately need. He could both start at the point and run the offense with Anthony Davis when Lebron James was on the bench.
2. Brooklyn Nets’ Shooting Guard Joe Harris
Joe Harris is a 6' 6,” 220 lb 31-year old sixth year unrestricted free agent shooting guard who averaged 13.9 points, 4.3 rebounds, 2.1 assists in 30.9 minutes per game for the season as a key starter for the Brooklyn Nets. Acknowledged as one of the league’s elite three-point shooters, Joe shot 47.1/41.2/74.7% for the season and would seem to be the perfect player to create space for the Nets’ superstar duo of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.
In a normal market, Harris would be in for a big raise from the $7.7 million he made last year but this offseason is anything but normal with few teams having money to spend in a market where the salary cap is likely to drop. With Brooklyn already slated to pay luxury taxes and the coronavirus pandemic probably increasing the bill, the Nets may decide they can’t afford to pay Harris, which could open the door for the Los Angeles Lakers.
While signing Harris for their $9.7 million MLE and a chance to win a ring might be a long shot, the Lakers would be smart to contact Joe’s agent as he would be the perfect sharp shooter to create space for LeBron and AD.
3. Detroit Pistons’ Power Forward Christian Wood
Christian Wood is a 6' 10," 214 lb, 24-year old fourth year unrestricted free agent power forward who averaged 13.1 points, 6.3 rebounds, 1.0 assists in 21.4 minutes per game in a breakout season 2020 with the Detroit Pistons. Wood can play both power forward and center and shot an impressive 56.7/38.6/74.4% this season, showing great athleticism attacking the rim as well as the ability to stretch the floor with elite three-point shooting.
Christian is currently earning the veteran’s minimum with the Pistons but is due for a big raise. The Celtics and Rockets tried to deal for him at the trade deadline and salary cap experts expect him to earn from $5 to $8 million. While other teams might tempt him with a chance to start, the Lakers could offer Wood their $9.7 million MLE and the opportunity to play with LeBron James and Anthony Davis on a powerhouse championship caliber team.
Christian would not only give the Lakers a stretch four who could help them win now but a talented, long, and athletic forward who could fulfill the void for a budding young star they had once hoped Kyle Kuzma could provide.
4. Phoenix Suns’ Center Aron Baynes
Aron Baynes is a 6' 10,” 260 lb, 33-year old eighth year unrestricted free agent center who averaged 11.5 points, 5.6 rebounds, 1.6 assists in 22.3 minutes per game sharing center with Deandre Ayton for the Phoenix Suns. The veteran Baynes is a solid defender and rugged screen setter who shot 48.0/35.1/74.7% this season. Depending what happens with DeMarcus Cousin, Baynes could be a perfect backup stretch five for the Lakers.
Aron is currently earning $5.4 with the Suns, who are unlikely to resign him since Deandre Ayton is their future at center. Baynes could be tempted to sign a short term deal with the Lakers for a similar amount to win a ring. Baynes elite screen setting and pick-and-pop abilities would add a well needed dimension to the Lakers’ offense by spreading defenses and opening up driving lanes for LeBron James and Anthony Davis to attack the rim.
Baynes would give the Lakers the perfect weapon against teams like the Bucks and Clippers who love to play drop coverage on pick-and-rolls to clog up the middle and make it hard for James and Davis to get into the paint.
When you’re a Lakers fan, it’s a challenge to select four superstar players to be immortalized on your Mount Rushmore but choosing one superstar with which to start a franchise among these legends is tan […]
When you’re a Lakers fan, it’s a challenge to select four superstar players to be immortalized on your Mount Rushmore but choosing one superstar with which to start a franchise among these legends is tantamount to impossible.
How do you choose from what are without question four of the greatest players to ever put on a purple and gold jersey, possibly the best NBA point guard, shooting guard, small forward, and center to ever play this game? It’s an impossible task but you have no option. You’re the general manager with the number one pick in the draft and this is the greatest draft class in the history of the league. So put on your big boy pants and make your pick.
The rules are simple. We’re talking about today’s modern NBA game where the three ball dominates, the game has become positionless, and science has given us 21-year old clones of these four players to start new teams. You’re to assume there will be elite players available with modern skill sets at all five positions with which to build out your roster and bench but none with the dominant generational superstar talent of these four players.
The challenge is figuring out who would be the best superstar around which to build a championship team considering the talent, character, versatility, and durability of these players and their fit in the modern game. To help you make your final decision who to draft, here’s my brief take on the relative strengths of each of the players as well as critical questions regarding how they might fit in today’s analytically driven league:
1. Magic Johnson, 19.5 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 11.2 apg, 52.0/30.3/84.8%
There’s a strong argument to be made that no position in today’s modern game is as important as point guard and there’s almost universal consensus that the 6–8 Magic Johnson is the best point guard to ever play the position. Winner of 5 NBA championships, 3 League MVPs, 3 Finals MVPs, 2 All-Star Game MVPs, and 9 First Team All-NBA awards in 13 NBA seasons, Magic was the ultimate fast break orchestrator and championship team leader.
If you have a chance to draft the greatest point guard in the history of the game, it’s hard not to decide to take Magic. His only weakness might be his mediocre 3-point shooting percentage and average defensive rating.
2. LeBron James, 25.7 ppg, 7.9 rpg, 10.6 apg, 50.4/34.4/73.5%
No superstar in NBA history can match LeBron James’ versatility and unique ability to play and defend all five positions on the court. It’s why when his career is over, he may be considered to be the greatest ever. Winner of 3 NBA championships, 4 League MVPs, 3 Finals MVPs, 3 All-Star Game MVPs, and 12 First Team All-NBA honors in 17 seasons counting, we may never see another superstar with LeBron’s physical and mental talent.
If you have a chance to draft the player who may eventually be the GOAT, it’s hard not to decide to choose LeBron. That he can play the point as well as Magic but is a better 3-point shooter and elite defender may be decisive.
3. Kobe Bryant, 25.0 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 4.7 apg, 44.7/32.9/83.7%
There is no superstar more beloved by Lakers fans than Kobe Bryant, who’s tragic death with his daughter Gigi in a helicopter crash earlier this year shocked the city of Los Angeles and basketball fans around the world. Winner of 5 NBA championships, 1 League MVP, 2 Finals MVPs, 4 All-Star Game MVPs, and 11 First Team All-NBA honors in 20 seasons, Kobe was one of the greatest clutch scorers and toughest defenders in NBA history.
While the opportunity to draft a generational superstar like Kobe Bryant is special, it’s hard to imagine him matching the impact of a Magic Johnson or LeBron James despite his unique two-way talent and Mamba mentality.
4. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, 24.6 ppg, 7.9 rpg, 3.6 apg, 36.8/5.6/72.1%
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar scored more points than any other player in the history of the NBA and his offensive and defensive prowess makes him in the minds of many experts the greatest center to every play the game. Winner of 4 NBA championships, 6 League MVPs, 2 Finals MVPs, 5 First Team All-Defensive teams, and 10 First Team All-NBA honors in 20 seasons, the Captain and his sky hook will always be among the league’s legends.
It’s hard to argue against drafting a superstar who scored more points in his career than any other player and was one of greatest two-way centers ever but the game has changed and centers no longer anchor championship teams.
Choosing between four of the greatest superstars in the history of the NBA is not easy, especially when you think of each in their prime. While you couldn’t go wrong with any of them, the truth is the game has changed. That’s why I would select LeBron James first because of his unique physical talents, his positional versatility, his ability to fit in the modern analytics driven NBA of today, and the fact he he still has time to add to his resume.
While most NBA franchises would be happy to win a single championship, the Los Angeles Lakers have always looked for ways to build dynasties that could win multiple championships. That’s how you win 16 c […]
While most NBA franchises would be happy to win a single championship, the Los Angeles Lakers have always looked for ways to build dynasties that could win multiple championships. That’s how you win 16 championships.
The Los Angeles Lakers have more unfinished business besides finishing the 2019–20 season and winning their 17th NBA championship. Their goal this offseason is going to be to make a blockbuster trade for a third superstar. While speculation has the Lakers waiting until next offseason to pursue forward Giannis Antetokounmpo as their third superstar, the smarter move might be for them to go hard after a young superstar guard this offseason.
When you look at the great superstar duos or trios in NBA history, they all included at least one superstar guard. Magic and Kareem, West and Baylor, Michael and Scotty, Kobe and Shaq, LeBron and Wade, LeBron and Kyrie. Trading for a young superstar guard this summer could actually enhance the Lakers’ chances of landing Giannis Antetokounmpo if he opts to leave Milwaukee next summer by giving them a valuable sign-and-trade chip.
Here are four trades for talented young guards with superstar potential who would be great fits with LeBron and AD and give the Lakers a second star to play alongside the 26-year old Davis when the 35-year old James retires:
1. Lakers Trade for Chicago Bulls’ Shooting guard Zach LaVine
25-year old Zach LaVine would be the perfect complement to LeBron James and Anthony Davis. He averaged 25.5 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 4.2 assists per game with the Bulls last season while shooting 45.0%/37.5%/80.2%.
The Lakers would have to include their 2020 and 2025 first round picks along with budding star Kyle Kuzma, proven veteran Danny Green, and bench GOAT Alex Caruso to tempt the Bulls to trade the talented LaVine.
But Zach would give the Lakers the third superstar they desperately need to make them the unquestioned best team in the league now and give them the second superstar to go with Davis once the 35-year old James retires.
2. Lakers Trade for Washington Wizards’ Shooting guard Bradley Beal
26-year old Bradley Beal would be a great fit playing with LeBron James and Anthony Davis. He averaged 30.5 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 6.1 assists per game with the Wizards last year while shooting 45.2%/35.3%/84.2%.
The Wizards might be tempted by an offer for Beal of potential young star Kyle Kuzma, proven vet Danny Green, bench GOAT Alex Caruso, defensive ace Avery Bradley, and the Lakers’ 2020 and 2025 first round draft picks.
Adding a third superstar like Bradley Beal to the Lakers’ LeBron James and Anthony Davis would elevate the Lakers over other NBA teams and give them a young superstar to complement Davis and eventually replace James.
3. Lakers Trade for Indiana Pacers’ Shooting guard Victor Oladipo
27-year old Victor Oladipo would give the Lakers a dynamic young guard to go with LeBron James and Anthony Davis. He has career averages of 17.4 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 3.9 assists while shooting 44.1%/35.0%/79.3%.
Because of his injury and looming big raise, the Pacers might be interested in an offer of the Lakers’ 2020 first round pick, young star Kyle Kuzma, bench GOAT Alex Caruso, and proven vet Danny Green for young Victor.
A healthy Oladipo would solve the Lakers need for a third superstar to make them the dominant team in the league and give them a superstar guard to anchor the team with Anthony Davis when LeBron James finally retires.
4. Lakers Trade for Utah Jazz’ shooting guard Donovan Mitchell
23-year old Donovan Mitchell would be an ideal third superstar to go with LeBron James and Anthony Davis. He averaged 24.2 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 4.2 assists per game last year while shooting 45.3%/36.3%/85.9%.
Because Mitchell makes so little, the Lakers would need to offer their 2020 and 2025 first round picks plus Kyle Kuzma, Danny Green, Alex Caruso, and Talen Horton-Tucker for Mitchell and Ingles to interest the Jazz in a trade.
The youngest of the four trade targets, Mitchell would be give the Lakers a superstar shooting guard to go with LeBron and AD and make them the best team in the league and give AD a great running mate after LeBron retires.
Nobody knows if the Bull, Wizards, Pacers, or Jazz are going to be willing to trade a young superstar like Zach LaVine, Bradley Beal, Victor Oladipo, or Donovan Mitchell or whether the Lakers’ offer would be the best available. How the various Lakers’ players included in the above trades perform should the NBA resume the season and playoffs will certainly be a major factor in determining their value in any potential trades this offseason.
Even if they win their 17th championship this season, the Los Angeles Lakers are not going to stand pat. They’re going to be looking to take the team to the next level and build a sustainable championship dynasty.
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