LSL Roundtable: The Future of the Lakers

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Who are the 3 guys most likely to leave this summer?

Booth – Too hard to pick just 3 guys who probably won’t be back next year, so I’ll take the easy way out and say Pau Gasol, and players B & C. After 3 years of trade rumors (and 1 aborted trade), the Lakers have made it abundantly clear Gasol is available at the right price. I think Gasol is also ready to move on, as he doesn’t see himself in the Lakers’ rebuilding future, and I really think the feeling is mutual. Even if the Lakers offered him a no trade clause in a new contract, I doubt he takes it. The ship has sailed. With Gasol still showing signs of strong play, he is likely to sign for a reduced rate with a title-contender who is 1 big away.

Burden – Gasol, Chris Kaman, Wes Johnson

Lopez – Three guys who won’t be wearing the Lakers jersey next season will be Chris Kaman, Jordan Hill, and Wesley Johnson. Chris Kaman hasn’t received the playing time he liked and just hasn’t seen eye-to-eye with coach D’Antoni. Jordan Hill similarly hasn’t received the playing time he feels he deserves, and fans probably agree with Hill. If the Lakers make a coaching change it’s possible Hill would decide to stay, but someone smart will look to sign him this offseason. Wesley Johnson has had the best season of his career (even if it’s only marginally better than his other seasons), but he hasn’t impressed me the way I had hoped. He has the body type to be a great defender in the NBA, but hasn’t taken the time to become one.

Hicks – Say goodbye to Jodie Meeks. Meeks has now become a starting caliber NBA two guard. He’s obviously not a star but he’s a perfect fit next to a dynamic, penetrating point guard like Derrick Rose or Brandon Jennings. He’s improved in every facet. He might become this generation’s Hersey Hawkins. I think he gets 4-5 million and starting job on a contender.
Kendall Marshall might not want to go but he needs to go. He’s been a great story all year and he’ll be cheap to resign but his weaknesses defensively make him a liability with this team. You can’t pair him with Kobe for any extended minutes because he’ll get torched by most of the guards in the West. He can’t make a shot off the dribble. He’s a wonderful passer but at this point he’s a luxury not a necessity. Also I hope the backup PG spot is left for an 18 year old out of Australia named Dante. Peace homie! Jordan Hill will be gone too whether D’Antoni stays or goes. Hill is valuable but he’s an elite backup not a starter and with this team he can get confused  where he belongs. The Lakers need a scorer at that position and preferably a shooter.

Garcia – Three guys who will go because they earned better contracts; Jordan Farmar, Jodie Meeks, and Chris Kaman.  They put up numbers above their pay, and top level playoff teams may be looking for that key bench player that gets them over the hump.  These three guys are it.

Morales – Could they play on the wretched 76ers and it wouldn’t matter. Wesley Johnson, Chris Kaman, Kendall Marshall. Wes can’t shoot, can’t dribble, can’t create, can’t finish, has low basketball IQ, goes under Durant screens, fouls three-point shooters, plays with zero intensity. Kaman has post moves but the league is too athletic for him and all he could ever be is s 8-12 minute guy. Kendall Marshall is a good point guard who is 30 years too late. He should’ve been around in the 80’s when athleticism didn’t define a guard’s game. He is too slow. He can’t run a break or get into the paint. He doesn’t play well with creators because their speed without the ball makes his passes turnovers. No one ever guards him so the offense is 4 on 5. He is best suited on a team with big guys who you dump the ball to and say score.

Rude – First two to go are forgone conclusions at this point in Jordan Hill and Chris Kaman. In spite of the Lakers putrid performances lately, neither Hill nor Kaman can crack the rotation, and neither should be happy about it. For a team that wants to see young guys, it makes no sense that Hill can’t see the floor. He’s a great energy guy and a contender will value him. For Kaman, he’s a decent back-up center, but that’s about it. The Lakers are no place for him. The last man to go will be Wes Johnson. His problems are exactly they’ve been throughout his career: flashes of greatness, but zero consistency. We’ve had enough of his pull-up jumpers one step inside the three-point line.