The Lakers are in the midst of a tough season, and their long-term prospects aren’t that bright. The team currently has the sixth-worst record in the league at 16-31, and are not even close to being in the playoff hunt in the tough Western Conference. The Lakers have been down as a franchise before. There have been a couple of stretches since the early 1990′s where the team wasn’t in contention for a title. Rebuilding doesn’t happen overnight, but Ben Bolch of The Los Angeles Times has a five-point plan to fix the team:
- First, the Lakers need to finish the season with the worst possible record that they can, so they can benefit from a higher lottery pick. A big part of achieving this goal would be to convince Kobe Bryant to take it easy on his minutes when and if he returns this season. Losing more could mean the difference between the sixth pick and the third pick in the upcoming draft. Those three spots could be the gap between drafting a true franchise changing talent, or just a good rotation player.
- Bolch also says the team needs to move Pau Gasol before the trade deadline. This would allow the team to get something for him, rather than letting him leave after the season for nothing in return. The team could try to flip him to a contender for some expiring contracts and a draft pick.
- He also believes the team should cut ties with coach Mike D’Antoni. Bolch wants the team to aim high, and try to lure Phil Jackson out of retirement, or someone like George Karl, or Jeff Van Gundy, coaches who have had success in the playoffs, and are more adaptable to their personnel.
- Bolch doesn’t think the team should try to change their entire roster after the season. He believes players like Steve Blake, Jodie Meeks, and Nick Young have value. All three players can be key role-players, and the team should be able to retain them without breaking the bank. He also thinks that if Steve Nash doesn’t retire, the Lakers should use the stretch provision and waive him.
- Lastly, Bolch thinks the team should be wary of the free agent market. If they strike out on LeBron James or Carmelo Anthony, then they would be better off enduring another down season and going after Kevin Love or Kevin Durant the following year. This would be preferable to signing lesser players to bad deals that would hinder their salary cap for future moves.