Lakers: Sitting Tight Through Free Agency Isn’t Easy


The Lakers are currently 12-27 with an ugly loss last night to the Miami Heat.  The Laker defense was porous.  Halfway through the game, they gave up 30 points in the paint to a team that averages 35 points in the paint all game long.

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When defense is being played that poorly, the team deserves to lose.  This time around, the Lakers can’t rely on Kobe Bryant to bail them out.

This point last season, the Lakers had 14 wins under their belt.  That’s a surprising feat considering the injury riddled season of last year.  Compared to last season, this team is relatively healthy.

The losses are tough to take.  The Lakers need to explore every option.  The current rules for the Collective Bargaining Agreement don’t make things easier. After all, the Lakers are the only team to have a trade rescinded for “basketball reasons.”

Our own Jacob Rude wrote about the Lakers going after Dion Waiters, Greg Monroe, and Brandon Jennings. Take a step back. Are these the guys worth building a core around? Detroit has gone on a winning streak after letting go of Josh Smith, but this team can’t hang big bucks and franchise responsibilities on Brandon Jennings and Greg Monroe.  They aren’t franchise players, yet.

What about Dion Waiters?  He’s a player looking for his opportunity to shine, but it has to be the right situation.  The Lakers need a pure point guard on the floor, and Waiters doesn’t fit that mold. Yes, he’s a good scorer off the bench, but that spot is taken by Nick Young.

Jan 13, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Miami Heat forward Luol Deng (9) is defended by Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant (24) at Staples Center. The Heat defeated the Lakers 78-75. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

What about Loul Deng?  The third piece to the Miami Heat is already involved in trades?  He has been a solid player throughout his career, but since his massive headaches on the Bulls team of 2013, he hasn’t been the same player.

One of the best moves the Laker made this season is the acquisition of Tarik Black. Not only is he a solid role player, but he is a great fit around any team situation. What team doesn’t need a paint player who does the dirty work?  He works hard, he runs the floor well, he finishes well, and he rebounds. He is one piece that the Lakers can keep for the future as they continue to search for franchise talent.

Tarik Black also gives the Lakers a lot of flexibility. Jordan Hill has the same role, but at nine times the salary. Ryan Kelly is a different look at power forward, providing guard-skills at the position. Carlos Boozer provides front-line scoring power off the bench. Just imagine how crowded the position would be if Julius Randle was healthy.

The good news?  There’s plenty of depth at the same position. There’s an opportunity to make a trade involving a front court player. It just has to be the right trade.

That doesn’t mean the next trade will bring a franchise player. But, could it bring a young, up-and-coming role player?  Absolutely.

Until then, patience is a virtue for the Laker organization.  The additional losses get the team closer to landing a top-5 protected pick from the Phoenix Suns. If the Lakers need to build through the draft, so be it. It wouldn’t look so bad with a top-5 pick next to Julius Randle and Tarik Black in the front line.

It would be a nice start.

It would be something to build upon.

Next: A Kevin Love One Year Contract Makes Sense for the Lakers