It’s been strange watching the Los Angeles Lakers over the last few years. Not necessarily because they’ve been bad, but because there has been a distinct lack of star power on the team.
Sure, Los Angeles had Kobe Bryant up until this season, but the last few years of Kobe left a lot to be desired. For a franchise that has prided itself on consistently boasting some of the best players in the league, the Lakers haven’t lived up to that standard recently.
But now that Magic Johnson is in town, he wants that to change. The team’s recently-appointed president of basketball operations appeared on a local radio program on Monday and discussed how getting a star the franchise can build around is in his plans.
Los Angeles has several intriguing young options if Johnson thinks the best course of action is to try and develop a star – guys like D’Angelo Russell, Brandon Ingram, Julius Randle, Ivica Zubac, and Larry Nance are all 24 or younger and seem like they can develop into solid pros. There’s also the chance they end up with a top-3 draft pick this year and can acquire a highly-regarded prospect like Lonzo Ball or Markelle Fultz. (If the Lakers fall out of the top-3 this year, the pick goes to Philadelphia.)
But it sounds like Johnson’s quote had less to do with player development and more with getting someone via a trade or free agency. Could that mean positioning themselves for a big free agent this year or, say, California natives Russell Westbrook and Paul George (who is apparently “hell-bent” on joining the Lakers) if they choose to hit free agency in 2018? Could that mean packaging their young assets and/or that pick for someone who will be on the trade market in the next few months? Or could it mean they’ll do what they tried to do with Timofey Mozgov this past offseason and give a lesser-heralded dude or two deals with the hopes that they can bolster the young talent on the roster?
If that’s the case, the Lakers are going to be a team to watch over the next few months/years, especially if they decide to bring in some talent via a trade. As always, there’s never a dull day in Laker Land.