For better or for worse, I'm back folks. The craft kept calling and bugged to me get back to the keyboard. It's been a rough couple of years for me as a Lakers fan. I had to disappear from the blogging world for awhile. All I could think to write about during the franchise's "Dark Ages" (also known as the Jim Buss years) were negative thoughts and harsh words. My favorite team and faithful readers deserve more than that.
There is no need to recap everything that's happened in the past two years, and I'm done dwelling about the negatives of the recent past. It's time to live in the moment. I'll try to stay topical, while providing fresh insight, and maybe even throw in a good story or two. I'm 50 years old, and once, long ago, I earned an A.A. in Journalism. I might as well put it to use.
No one knows what the future holds, but for the Lakers, their future could radically change six hours from now. Today is June 30th, and tomorrow the flood gates open, and the summer of 2018 free agency season begins.
In just a few days, the Lakers' roster could look radically different from last season. The team, led by the boss Jeanie Buss and her henchman Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka, are looking to land some of the biggest names on the free agent market. For months, fans and basketball enthusiasts alike have been wondering whether LeBron James, Paul George, and the latest hot-rumored player considering the Lakers, Kawhi Leonard, would soon be donning the purple and gold.
|MAGIC JOHNSON AND ROB PELINKA|
Excited yet? Hang on...there's more!
The past few free agent summers haven't been so great for the Lakers faithful. However, thanks to media speculation, and the daily rumors floating around about players like James and Leonard, there's been some room for optimism for us Lakers fans.
So how would you all feel if we signed "King" James? From what I've read, some fans love it, others hate it. Some have said we'd be "selling our souls" by signing the likes of Mr. James. But you have to admit, since Kobe Bryant and Paul Gasol have moved on, there's been a void here that has yet to be filled.
|PAU GASOL AND KOBE BRYANT|
Hold it! Newsflash! I just got a update on my ESPN app that LeBron has flown into Los Angeles. See how crazy it is?
So what is my feeling?
Honestly...so what! We've been living in the past, fellow Lakers fans; we most certainly have been living in the past. The old Showtime era is gone, the Lake Show is gone, and Kobe has finally sailed into the sunset, or at least into Orange County. Since 2010, when the Lakers last brought home the Larry O' Brien trophy, the NBA has mutated into a new beast, and explored vast new spaces.
What's the NBA like today? Shooting from just beyond half court is in, and post play, with few exceptions, is out. Centers can dribble to the hole from the 3 point line (and shoot from beyond it), and defense is a ploy you try in the 4th quarter. It's a new era.
|CURRY PULLING UP FROM 50 FEET|
Also moving on is the concept of franchise players. Mr. Bryant gave us 20 years in LA, and Dirk Nowitzki's 2 decades in Dallas are slowing coming to an end. Nowadays, players have their bags packed after a few seasons so they can chase the almighty dollar, or form a new "super team." These players conspire to sign together to win a championship, and dynasties are easy come, easy go. Just ask the Miami Heat.
That pretty much catches us up to 2018. In order to be relevant, the Lakers can continue on their path of acquiring young stars such as they have gathered to this point: Julius Randle, Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, and my personal favorite Kyle Kuzma, or they can except the new norm. And I think they will do, or at least try, just that.
|BALL, HART, KUZMA|
Perhaps this bunch of young ballers could lead us to the promised land one day, but as you all know, here in Los Angeles, the fans are restless. They want a championship yesterday, and another one today. So unless Magic and Pelinka have aces up their sleeves, we're going to give a little (or a lot), to get somebody.
If we give up some of our young talent to acquire stars, are we giving away our souls? Some of you may feel that way, but like I said this is a new era. Kobe, Shaq, Big Shot Rob, Magic, Worthy and The Captain and all those championships from yesteryear were great moments in time, but they are part of history, and we need something now.
|SHOWTIME LAKERS...IF ONLY....|
At least there's still a (competent) Buss in control in Jeanie. I'd like to think she has enough of Jerry's DNA running through her veins to coax some superstars into joining forces with our diaper-dandies (to steal a famous Chick Hearnism).
So I'll end this piece with who I'd like to see in a Lakers uniform.
*King James. Well, what can i say? I think without him, our current crop of young guys, with some help from a few of the other big free agents, could challenge the Warriors and Rockets for the title. But it wouldn't hurt to see him running out of the home team tunnel at the Staples Center. Wilt the Stilt was brought in from Philly, Kareem was stolen from Milwaukee, and Shaq was lured out of Orlando. We certainly have room for one more star. I admit I'm not his biggest fan, but there is no denying his great talent. Over time, I've come to admire his game.
*Whether it's next year or this year, Kawhi really wants to come to Los Angeles, and I'd really like to have him here. He needs a change in venue, and we need a young, but battle-tested, superstar.
*Paul George, and/or any other big names our there: sure! If they want to play here, there's room enough for all of them in the city of lights (but will there be enough shots for them to go around?). And after all, didn't we get fined a half million for "tampering" with him last year? He owes us!
|KYLE KUZMA AND PAUL GEORGE: FUTURE TEAMMATES?|
*Kuzma and Hart. The fact that we scored the two of them in the 2017 draft, considering our draft pick locations, was the steal of the decade. I truly believe Kuzma is going to be something special, and Hart reminds me of a young Bryon Scott: a player who challenged defenders at the rim with his drives, while being able to pull up from the outside. And as bonus, the kid plays hard defense. Plus for now he's a cheap to keep.
|JOSH HART TAKING IT TO THE HOLE|
*Who would we have to give up to get players like James and Leonard? I vote Randle and Ingram. I like them both a lot, but somebody has to be sacrificed. Randle would eventually cost too much to keep alongside the superstars, and I think Ingram would suffer from his lack of touches. But if we only get one star, I would think we'd have to keep one of these guys.
|BRANDON INGRAM AND JULIUS RANDLE|
So there it is, the first in the hopes of many columns in my newly rechristened blog. I hope I don't disappoint, and I hope you all find the material interesting. It should a fun ride this season!
Oh wait! Another update right before press time: Vegas just increased our odds to win the 2019 NBA Championship to 3 to 1! And the free agency period is now just three hours away. I can't wait to wake up in the morning.!
Till next time...Laker Dave signing off.