The Lakers are going to miss the playoffs for the third straight season, something that almost assuredly won’t sit well with team ownership or the fans. With Kobe Bryant set to retire, the franchise will look markedly different next season. What remains to be seen is if the team will build around its younger players or attempt to remake itself by chasing big-name free agents. Los Angeles certainly has a number of young, intriguing players, but it remains to be seen if any among them are stars who are capable of carrying the franchise back to glory.
According to an informal poll of NBA front office executives, point guard D’Angelo Russell is viewed as having the potential to develop into a franchise-player, but the same sentiment wasn’t shared in regard to 2014 lottery pick Julius Randle, according to Ken Berger of CBSSports.com. The dozen executives Berger polled relayed that Randle is seen more as a piece to the puzzle or an energy guy than a bonafide franchise cornerstone. The scribe also noted that it was conceivable that the Lakers could deal one or both of the duo to land a proven star, adding that the organization’s decision-making this summer will be shaped by whether or not it retains its 2016 first-rounder. The Lakers must convey their pick to the Sixers if they fall out of the top three selections.
This brings me to the topic for today: Should the Lakers focus on building around younger players like D’Angelo Russell and Julius Randle, or should the team look to deal them for an established star?
If you think the team should look to trade the young pair, who would be a realistic target? Or do you believe Los Angeles needs to take it slow and rebuild through the draft instead of chasing big names on the open market? Take to the comments section to share your thoughts and opinions on the matter.