Los Angeles Lakers Free Agency: Do's and Don'ts
Summer 2019 promises to be a pivotal moment for the NBA. The crop of available free agents is an immense one, headlined by the likes of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and Kawhi Leonard, among others.
Ahead of this crucial summer, the Los Angeles Lakers organization is at a critical impasse and clouded with uncertainty. With title-or-bust aspirations, this off-season could be the most important in franchise history.
Here’s what the front office needs to do and what they need to avoid:
Do: Sign Shooters
Too many times this past season the Lakers struggled to get a bucket. We know the winning formula for LeBron: give him the ball and spread the floor.
LeBron may have very well spent his off-season salivating over the supporting cast coach Mike Budenholzer and the Milwaukee Bucks put together for Giannis Antetokounmpo. Between Brook Lopez, Nikola Mirotic, Eric Bledsoe, George Hill, Pat Connaughton, and Irsan Ilyasova, Giannis had shooters for days. Not too mention a solid No. 2 option in Khris Middleton.
Sign or Trade For: Klay Thompson, Bradley Beal, JJ Reddick, Brook Lopez, or Al Hortford
Don't: Sign more “playmakers”
Talk about redundant. The Lakers opted (with LeBron’s blessing) to sign several playmakers including Rajon Rondo and Lance Stephenson last summer. These additions to a roster that already boasted Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, and LeBron James was overkill and it showed.
As stated above, LeBron is at his best when he’s running the offense. Find a supplemental point guard that can play off guard, and get out of the King’s way.
Do: Trade Brandon Ingram
The 21-year-old, former second overal pick is a talented player with a very high but unknown ceiling. The problem, however, is that he and LeBron’s games seem to be at odds. Per ESPN, when LeBron is on the court, Ingram’s Per 36 Minutes stats drop from 29.5 points, 4.7 assists, and 56% FG, to a measly, 15.1 points, 1.7 assists, on 44% shooting
Between his on-court differences with LeBron, and his ongoing health issues, Ingram is a prime candidate for relocation.
Trade Ingram, Hart, and the 4th-overall pick to the Washington Wizards for Bradley Beal and Jeff Green.
Don't: Wait for Free Agents to come to you
The Lakers are a nightmare. The front office is a mess, Magic Johnson is out, the young players are unhappy and the new head coach Frank Vogel has a losing NBA record. No agent who cares about their client’s best interests is going to send them to the Los Angeles Lakers.
The only option left is to trade for somebody. If the Lakers can acquire an All-Star caliber player, maybe they can begin to right the ship.
Do what it takes to bring in another star (ideally Anthony Davis, Bradley Beal, or CJ McCollum).
Do: Fire GM Rob Pelinka.
The news is out. Nobody likes Rob Pelinka.
Whether it is his rude demeanor, or his strange lie about Kobe Bryant and Heath Ledger, Rob Pelinka has become the NBA’s most disliked and untrusted GM. It is time for a change of face.
This is one of the premier clubs in the entire Association, and as of late it’s been a laughing stock. Something needs to change in LA.
Go get Masai Ujiri and give him whatever he wants. He has shown what he is capable of with the Raptors. This man, along with LeBron James, would right the ship for LA.
Don't: Trade all of your young assets.
The Lakers need to do everything in their power to hold onto either Lonzo Ball or Kyle Kuzma. Kuzma is a born scorer who can be the 3rd option on a winning team today.
Lonzo is the perfect back up to LeBron, as he can help carry the load when the 17-year veteran needs to take a breather.
Trade away Kuzma OR Lonzo. Retain one or otherwise flip him for an established talent.