Where I’m At

H’ok. I’m trying to move on from the fact that we’ve hired a convicted domestic abuser and alcoholic who has a rep for sabotaging his own coaching staff as the direct successor to Frank Vogel. Why anyone thinks we need Jason Kidd on the bench is quite beyond me. However, I have no ability to correct this egregious error in judgement so I can choose to give up on the team I’ve loved for my entire life or hope he falls off a cliff or something. I choose the latter.

At any rate, that’s how the Lakers a rolling. So we ride on.

With the news that the Lakers jumped up from the perceived 11th draft spot to #4 hope re-sprung from the desert like a Super Bloom in spring. Optimism returned to where despair had been roosting. While this may not be the strongest draft there will be an impact player available at #4 or, as Rob Pelinka brilliantly informed the world, it could be asset in a trade. Either way it’s a whole helluva lot better than picking at 11.

So what should the Lakers do? Keep the pick? Trade it? Go all in on Anthony Davis, again? Try and pry Bradley Beal from the Washington Wizards? Options and potentials abound. The real question is: does the current Laker brain trust have something approaching a plan or are they, as is generally perceived, shooting from the hip and making choices in a vacuum. In my opinion, it’s a little bit of both.

Let’s for one moment put aside the botched and absurd coaching search we just bore witness to. While it’s easy to understand the dismay and ridicule over 2 coaches essentially turning us down for lesser stature jobs (or, in the case of Ty Lue no job) Frank Vogel has the potential to be a good coach for this team if Jason Kidd doesn’t get in his way. Frank is ha a rep as defensive coach that could use some help with the offensive X’s and O’s, not unlike recently departed coach Walton. Again, mystifying that they brought in Kidd as opposed to literally almost any other candidate. OK, it’s a little hard for me to move on past the coaching debacle, I admit it.

So, Frank’s at the helm, team identity will start on defense and we’ll run everything through LeBron and whomever else is on the roster. Great, the question now comes to who will be playing with LeBron? If Frank has any input my guess is we’ll see JaVale McGee return to the fold to anchor our defense. He played well with LeBron and looked like a potential DPOY candidate until he went down with pneumonia from which it took him a couple months to fully recover from. Once he got healthy, though, he started putting up solid numbers, again.

If we roll with McGee on a reasonable deal ($8 mil for 3 seasons, team option in year 2, player option in year 3; IMO that’s a deal that’s easy to trade) it’ll start to eat into the cap space we’ve publicly ear-marked for a 2nd superstar. I think we need to abandon that fantasy. We should, of course, do our due diligence, see if we can get an early meeting with any of the top tier Special K’s but the Lakers will hopefully have a reality check and realize that the likelihood of signing one of those players is just about zero. They should, instead, aggressively pursues the best free agent role players available.

Danny Green, J.J. Reddick and potentially Terry Rozier should all be considered. All 3 are on teams that will address their needs second or third after dealing with superstars they need to retain. All 3 will be unrestricted free agents. They can play as an off-ball point guard, backup point guard or starting point guard giving us a lot of flexibility in the back court assuming we keep Lonzo Ball and sign Caruso to another 2 way contract (reminder: 2 way contracts do not count against your NBA salary cap). We needed help at the guard spot all season last year and any one of those 3 would be an upgrade or a cheaper version of KCP, if not both.

If we want to upgrade at the 5 with an eye towards trading for AD mid-season I think you go after Vucevic. See if he’s down to come here for $18-20 mil/season on a structure similar to the theoretical one for McGee (3 years, player option in both years, another player that should be easy enough to either trade or include for AD). If he’s not, fine. You can over-pay McGee for a one-year, offer Brook Lopez something similar (maybe $12 mil for a 3 year deal, talk options if needed) but the bottom line is you not only need a solid center to guard against McGee having health issues or being unable to replicate last season and we don’t have Zubac, anymore. Wagner may be ready for a break out, he may not. just hasn’t played enough, hoping to see him in summer league if only to get his conditioning ready for the NBA season.

All of this goes out the window if Jimmy Butler, Leonard or Thompson or Durant or Irving want to play here. That’s a no-brainer. Maybe even Kemba Walker. But after that group you look to sign decent talent to a deal that fits into a trade for AD or can stay on the roster and be a part of something in the future while being one salary dump away from trading for AD. You have to start building an actual team. When more than half of your roster is guys on one-year deals you’re asking for trouble. Toss in an already unstable coaching situation and it gets worse.

That’s my two-bits, I’m sure none of it will become reality but you never know. Hope to hear more good news as the summer goes on, I’m tired of seeing our front office look like clowns. The silver lining in that: none of them will be donning uniform for training camp so as long as we assemble a good team and keep a tight leash on Kidd’s machinations we should be OK. Here’s hoping Jason Kidd does something dumb before the season and gets himself fired.