1. The Dream Team
PG – Eric Bledsoe
SG – Kobe Bryant
SF – Carmelo Anthony
PF – LeBron James
C – Pau Gasol
Notable Bench: Andrew Wiggins, Jordan Hill, Jordan Farmar, Rodney Hood
We’ll start with, by far, the most unrealistic possibility, just to see what greatness could be. The Lakers deal away Steve Nash and Steve Blake mid-season, garnering cap space (Nash) and a late first-rounder (Blake). In the summer, with only Robert Sacre’s contract guaranteed on the books, they start swinging for the fences. Bryant and Gasol come back on discounts under the premise of jointly recruiting stars. They begin with LeBron, whose Heat squad are dethroned in the second round after a disappointing playoffs. Looking for a new challenge, LeBron accepts a little less than the max salary, giving the Lakers their future superstar.
Next, eyes are turned toward Anthony. With room for another max contract, Anthony is swayed toward Los Angeles after James Dolan runs him out of New York after trading Iman Shumpert for the rights to Adam Morrison, which isn’t even a thing. With four superstars, the Lakers surround themselves with returning players on discount (Farmar, Hill) and a host of veterans, as well as luring Bledsoe from Phoenix with the last chunk of their salary cap, more than Phoenix can offer.
Best yet, the Lakers successfully tanked, dealing away all their talent for draft picks. Finishing with the fifth worst record in the league, the Lakers get lucky and get the second overall pick. With a late first-round pick, they add the duo out of Duke in Jabari Parker and Rodney Hood, setting themselves up with the past (Bryant and Gasol), the present (LeBron and Melo), and the future (Bledsoe, Parker, Hood).