Look, I’m a lifelong Lakers fan. Nothing will ever change that…unless Donald Sterling somehow gets his fingers on the franchise. But that’s pretty unlikely. So too are the odds of Mitch Kupchak pulling off the moves necessary to get the purple and gold back into the title mix. Which brings me back to the point of this rambling.
I’m a Laker fan not a bandwagon Laker fan. The bandwagon variety follows passively assuming everything is going to workout just because it’s the Lakers we’re talking about here. They see nothing but the banners yet know nothing of the process necessary to hang those ornaments of accomplishment.
If you’re of the bandwagon variety then be prepared to spend the upcoming season anticipating the season after that. Odds are that’s how long it will take Kupchak to build another roster that has even the slightest chance of competing at the highest level.
This Laker team isn’t a single trade away from contention. Unless that trade involves Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum. You see Kupchak’s hands are tied. He’s obligated to build around Kobe and Drew which leaves next to nothing in trade value. Gasol is a legit option, obviously, but he’s not going to fetch the type of talent necessary to get L.A. in the same convo as OKC.
In fact there really aren’t many avenues at all that aren’t dead ends for the Lake Show in terms of personnel moves.
None of the top tier free agents are going to accept the mini mid-level exception the Lakers will offer. $3-million might be nice chunk of change to me and you but there’s no way Deron Williams is going to take that kind of a pay cut just to be a Laker. Even Kupchak would find it impossible to keep a straight face making that kind of an offer to D-Will.
As Mike Bresnahan points out the possibility of reuniting with Lamar Odom is near impossible as well given the new CBA guidelines.
And forget about the Dwight Howard sweepstakes. For one Orlando isn’t going to swap Gasol for Superman II. Plus, let’s be honest about this. Howard didn’t exactly impress in how he handled himself this past season. Last thing we need is a demanding diva like Dwight in Hollywood. Aside from that he’s not going to be the difference maker necessary to make this team a true title contender.
That leaves Kupchak between a rock and Metta World Peace’s head. Unlike the last dynasty GM Mitch built there isn’t a sucker team out there looking to swap a Kwame Brown for a Gasol. Not after Dan Gilbert’s tantrum over the CP3 debacle. And certainly not with the way the new luxury tax rules are structured.
Sorry, bandwagon faithful. You might just have to sit out this next season. It’s going to take at least two years until the Lakers are in a better place financially to acquire new talent. With few trade options and even fewer free agency moves to be made we’re going to be looking at another year of banging on Kupchak to get this team more talent. There will certainly be changes. Just don’t expect any of them to be enough to take the West back from the Thunder. That will require a major miracle on Kupchak’s part.