Teh PIeces of the Puzzle
It is hard to imagine the Lakers as an afterthought in the NBA. A team that will consistantly battle for the 7th or 8th seed in the Western Confrence. A team that is in a "constent" rebuilding mode. If I didn't start this off by saying "It's hard to imagine the Lakers.." because I would SWEAR it was the CLIPPERS I was referring to, but I am not, sadly it may be the way of the Lakers.
We'll start with the peices of the puzzle that is CURRENTLY on the roster (as I write this).
Kobe Bryant: The best basketball player on earth right now is rightfully upset with the upper management of the Lakers. He git tired of scoring as much as he HAD to last season. He wants more peices of the puzzle so he can have teammates he can rely on consistenly. He has asked to be traded, but you just cann't get equal value for him. If a "star" player can land a team 3 starters and a a 1st round pick what could/would the BEST player land? Not enough in my opinion.
Lamar Odom: He is a consistent player that will give ANY TEAM 15ppg/9rpg/5apg. But many, including myself, feel he is capable of much better numbers. He is the player most likely to be traded since his contract can match almost any other player the Lakers maybe targeting. Odom would be a GREAT 3rd option for the Lakers IF they can find away to land a 2nd option without trading him.
Andrew Bynum: He is the player every team wants (not named Kobe Bryant). His ceilling is high and many NBA scouts feel he would have been the 3rd player taken in this draft and will someday become an All-Star. The problem is Kobe and the fans want to win NOW, not 3 years from now, so Bynum' s future as a Laker is in doubt.
Kwame Brown: Another likely trad canidate since he has an expiring contract (worth $9 million). He has under achived since becoming a Laker showing why the Wizards got rid of the first chance they got. He play has been inconsistent, he has been hurt and attitude has been questioned by Phil Jackson.
Possible players the Lakers could aquire:
Jermaine O'Neal: The PF/C wants off the Pacers and the Pacers have a deal on the table for the Lakers (Odom/Bynum for O'Neal), but the Lakers are not sure they want the multiple time All-Star for that price tag (really Bynum). He would add a 2nd scoring threat and a very good defender against the PF's of the west.
Kevin Garnett: It would be a dream come true for the Lakers to add him, but the reality is they would have to give up Bynum/Odom and another player (Farmar/Crittendon). I think the Lakers would do it, but that is not enough for the T-Wolves, otherwise they would have done it 3 days ago. If the Lakers do not trade for KG, then look for them to try and sign him when he opts out of his deal after this season.
Ron Artest: He may be the 2nd scorer that the Lakers desire, but he will add a much needed defensive mentality to the Lakers. He would free up Bryant to guard the opposing teams lesser offensive threat (there for using less energy on the defensive end). The Kings are said to be set on getting rid of Artest this offseason, and he also can opt out of his deal after the season. Artest has said in the past he wants to play in LA and has a freindship with Kobe Bryant.
Javaris Crittendon: The big PG out of Georgia Tech has all kinds of tools and was expected by many to go higher then he did (#19 overall). He is a student of the game with a competitive attitude. He has a solid outside jumper and has a very good first step. He spent 4 hours a week AFTER practice watching flim on Magic Johnson, Jason Kidd, Steve Nash, Chauncy Billups and Stephon Marbury. The big knock on Crittendon is he turns the ball over to much.
Sun Yue: The 6'9 SF has been called the Tony Kukoc of China. The lefty has a 34' vert and is a great passer. He likes to go to the rack and dunk and create. Yue needs to work on him jumper a bit, but in time that could get better. he played in the ABA this past season since his team was exiled out of China.
Marc Gasol: The 7'0, 280 lb Center out of Spain (and younger brother of Pau) is a project with a good upside.
Noone knows what the Lakers Front Office has in store, but as a Lakers fan, I am guardedly optimistic that the Lakers will be back on top of the NBA world soon and a deal will be made to ensure that. Dr. Jerry Buss knows how to build a winner and understands that the fans of LA will not except another medicore season, and neither will it's superstar.