Obviously the Lakers season did not end the way were hoping…not even close. They had to know they were a long shot to make the Finals even with a completely healthy roster, but a first round sweep?? Ouch…
Now Dwight Howard becomes a free agent who will, despite a trashpile of a season, earn max money next year. Kobe has vowed to come back, but no one knows when that will be or if he will even resemble the player that has wowed us for years. So what now? Here’s my humble/genius suggestion:
Cut your losses and leave Dwight alone: The way I see it, Dwight Howard is one of the most overrated players in the NBA. Yes, his stature and build are those of a superhero, but his maturity levels are only slightly above those of DeMarcus Cousins. He’s not a good teammate, he’s a huge liability at the free throw line, and he is going to cost more money than Pau and Nash combined. Pau is getting older and he’s much more of a finesse player than Dwight, but he’s also a team player who draws opposing big men out of the lane with his sweet 18-footers. The Lakers should find a center to replace Howard through the draft and use Earl Clark in the meantime. Dwight Howard is a cancer and the next team who decides to pay an arm and a leg for him will find that out sooner or later. A lot of people have been suggesting a sign and trade, which doesn’t seem like a terrible idea, but if it were up to me, I wouldn’t even bother.
Find a long-term answer at PG: Steve Nash is the only player signed through 2014/15, but there’s no telling whether he’ll survive that long. One of the all-time great point guards is finally breaking down, as the Laker’s injury reports from this year will attest and I, personally, don’t think 33-year old Steve Blake is the answer to any question other than, “Who is the first bald, white guy you can think of?” In an ideal world, they could try to get Brandon Jennings, but I don’t think there are enough touches to go around. I think Jodie Meeks could be a possible solution if he continues to grow, but I’m a lot less high on Chris Duhon. He was a big name coming out of Duke, but he’s done virtually nothing in the NBA. For some reason the Lakers thought it was a good idea to give him $3.6 million this year and $3.9 next year. I would try to unload Duhon’s contract ASAP, but the Lakers will probably just bite the bullet and let him walk after next year.
Make sure Metta World Peace sticks around: Metta has a player option in his contract for the upcoming year and still has a lot of value at age 33. He is still a shut down defender and a bit of an X factor for team chemistry. World Peace is just one of those quirky players, like Kenneth Faried and Chris “Birdman” Andersen, whose idiosyncrasies make him special and nearly impossible to replace.
Photo Credit: (DEJAK/AP)
Sign LeBron “Not 4, not 5” James in 2014/15: The Lakers front office might be geniuses and I’ll tell you why. No Laker is signed for the 2014/15 season except Steve Nash and guess who has the option to become a free agent right about that time…Yeah, you guessed it, BronBron. So Kobe comes back, does his best, never gets back to the Kobe of old and the Lakers thank their lucky stars/me that they stayed away from Dwight Howard so that they can spend all the money in the world on LeBron. Maybe they resign Kobe for a year or two just because he’s Kobe, but he takes a huge pay cut and they still have stacks of cash to pay players to support LeBron. Unlike Dwight, LeBron can carry a team deep into the playoffs by himself and with a few solid support players, he can win a ring or two and most importantly make sure the Lakers logo continues to mean excellence.
The bottom line is, teams like the Lakers don’t know what “rebuilding” means. They have a legacy to protect and will do whatever it takes to make sure they put a good product on the floor. LeBron James is the way to make sure that the Lakers’ championships and revenue continue to go up.