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How to Fix the L.A. Lakers – Trades, Draft, and Kobe

Let’s face it. The Los Angeles Lakers are losers.

They have been for some time now. The team is currently tied for the worst record in a Western Conference they once would rule year in and year out (Wilt’s, Magic’s, and Shaq’s teams are just some examples). However with a roster that features future Hall-of-Famers like Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, and Pau Gasol, the team is simply losing. This isn’t intentional, just a lack of talent. The 3 HOF’s have not, and now definitively won’t due to Kobe being ruled out the season, share the court at least once this season during a game. So how can the Lakers be fixed and put back into contention for a championship?

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Proposed Idea– Lakers use the “stretch provision” on Steve Nash. This essentially waives Nash but stretches his hit to the salary cap over a 4 year period so instead of Nash just whittling away making 10 million a year in the trainer’s room, he’ll only count as 2 million on the books which is very manageable. Keep Kobe Bryant, who will have 2 years, 40 million left on his extension. Pick in the 4-6 range in this year’s draft, likely a player like PF Julius Randle or PG Marcus Smart. Sign Pau Gasol to a 7-9 million a year 3 year deal then immediately trade him, their 2014 draft pick, Smart or Randle, their unprotected first round picks in 2015 and 2017 and likely players such as Nick Young and Jordan to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Kevin Love, a conditional 2nd round pick and a player like Corey Brewer in return.

Why this works for Lakers:

  • Kevin Love (arguably the 5th best player in the league) comes home! (Love is from LA and played at UCLA). He also will finally be put on a team in a big market, essential for Superstars in the league not named Kevin Durant.
  • Kobe can contend for titles for the last two years of his career, go out a winner.
  • No more Nash wasting everyone’s time with injuries, ability to go sign a Mario Chalmers-type Point guard to just run the offense and get out of the way.
  • The Lakers are back! The winning tradition would continue.

Why it might not:

  • L.A would give up all of its assets.
  • They could only have one year of Kevin Love (he’s a free agent in 2015 and could very realistically pull a Dwight Howard and bolt if the team isn’t producing wins).
  • If the whole Kobe-Love thing doesn’t work out and Love doesn’t resign, the Lakers are basically guaranteed to suck until 2019-2020 (next year they’d have a draft pick)

 

Now if you’re wondering why Minnesota would do this it’s quite simple. Love is going to leave them in 2015. He’s never made the playoffs and likely never will in Minnesota. So they might as well try to get back some assets for one of the hottest players in the league while they still can. Gasol would not stay with the T’Wolves. In this scenario he’d be flipped to a contender for either a young asset of more draft picks. Minnesota would then become a full on tanking team that would rebuild the right way around either Randle or Smart who both are franchise players. The T’Wolves could eventually become one of the most dominant teams in the league within 5 years and be competing for titles. This scenario makes nothing but sense for Minnesota and even for the historic Lakers. It will be interesting to see how exactly these two teams will handle their situation with their stars; time will tell.

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