The Los Angeles Lakers have been quietly surging back after several mediocre seasons, and it finally seems like the post Kobe Bryant era is getting off to a nice start with their new look young core.
Obviously, they still need to round up their squad and add some top-tier talent if they intend to go back to their old ways, and they’re ahead of a major offseason this campaign with a lot of money on their hands and a lot of history to back their proposals.
Johnson and Pelinka are set to be extremely aggressive during the summer, as they’re keen to make this year the last season the team misses the playoffs, and fans have a lot to be excited for this upcoming couple of months for the franchise. That’s why today, we’re going to let you know about the 5 moves this team needs to do during the summer.
1. Offer A Max Contract To LeBron James, Paul George Or DeMarcus Cousins
This one is so obvious but still needs to be said. This team has enough cap space to pursue not one, not two, but three superstars during the summer, and if one of them decides to come on board, it should be just a matter of time before the others also comply.
So, they have to be quite aggressive in their pursuit for LeBron James, who’s been linked with a move to the Lakers for two straight seasons now, as Paul George isn’t going to need much convincing considering he grew up a Lakers fan and would love to play side by side with James. Also, they could take a gamble and offer Boogie a max contract, hoping James and George’s presence are enough to convince him to take a slight pay cut and finally play for a contender.
Of course, if they want to sign three superstars, they need to trade everyone except Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma and Brandon Ingram.
2. Offer A New Deal To Julius Randle
If they strike out on one or two of this big names we just mentioned, one of the team’s priorities has to be resigning Julius Randle for the long run as one of the team’s franchise cornerstones besides Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma and Lonzo Ball.
Randle seemed to be the odd man out on this team for a very long time and was a lock to be traded after disappointing in his first couple of campaigns, but he’s finally coming around as a dominant rebounder and scorer, and only needs to develop a consistent jump shot in order to become elite at the four. Obviously, if they sign those 3 stars, they’re going to be forced to let him walk.
3. Offer A 2-Year Deal To Isaiah Thomas
Well, convincing Isaiah Thomas to stay with the team if LeBron James comes on board may be extremely tricky, as there was obviously a lot of bad blood between the two, but even though it would be the smartest decision for a declining point guard that just had a good couple of seasons and isn’t going to get paid a lot.
The Lakers are Thomas’ safest destination, playing in the team’s second unit against worse defenders and also hiding his huge defensive liabilities, so he should just take a 2 year deal with a player option on the second year. Still, we believe his ego isn’t going to let him go back to being a substitute.
If Lakers don't sign superstars, they must sign Isaiah "Powers Back" Thomas.
4. Sign Veterans
This team already features some of the most talented young players in the league in Ball, Ingram, Randle and Kuzma, but they lack the kind of veteran leadership to help them improve in the offseason, to guide them in the locker rooms and help them achieve the necessary mindset to be successful in this league.
So, the Lakers should offer veteran minimum deals to players like Vince Carter and Zach Randolph like the Sacramento Kings just did, not because of what they could bring to the table on the hardwood but because of the impact they may have on these young men' career.
5. Improve Their Second Unit
And last but not least, they got to focus a lot on their second unit with some capable role players, as they’ve already lost both Larry Nance Jr and Jordan Clarkson, a couple of the most important second unit players this team’s project had during the last couple of campaigns.
Having said that, they should make a run at guys like Tyreke Evans, Nerlens Noel or Jahlil Okafor, players that still have lot to offer and that haven’t been able to find success in the league so far, but that put together could really round up and build a competitive squad for the long run.