The Lakers off-season cannot come fast enough and will be entertaining and full of possibilities.
For many Laker fans, the young core is the only thing that is keeping their hopes alive. The young core is something like a light at the end of a tunnel and the major component to winning championships in a few years.
There is certainly a lot of buzz and hype around them, especially because they came as a result of four straight years of awful seasons and draft lotteries. They have become somewhat of a prized possession and untouchable commodity to Laker fans because they suffered through those tough seasons for them.
D’Angelo Russell, Brandon Ingram, Julius Randle, Jordan Clarkson, Larry Nance Jr and now, Ivica Zubac make up the young core that is currently beloved among Laker hopefuls. On the other hand, there are many who would debate flipping a few of those young pieces for a current NBA Superstar.
Go on any major social media forum and that debate is a full-fledged war in Laker Land. There is a clear divide on which route is best for the quickest path back to title contention. Both sides of the argument can be made on which way to go.
If you look at a team like the Warriors, they built through the draft and managed to develop their pieces into Superstars and all-stars; then on top of that sign one of the best players in the NBA, Kevin Durant. That is what most of the Laker fans are hoping happens with this team. Seems like a logical route since many powerhouse teams have built through the draft.
There is also a risk for the Lakers building strictly through the draft because there is a chance that these young players do not end up becoming superstars or even good players. At this current time, their stock and potential are sky high, and that alone can be sold to teams in a trade for a perennial all-star or superstar.
Lakers have six players in their young core, maybe trading two or three of them for a marquee player can fast track them back to title contention. The question is, who are you willing to give up and for who? Paul George? Jimmy Butler? DeMarcus Cousins?
However you may see it, the road to relevance hangs in the balance for the Lakers. In my opinion, I do not believe any one of the young core players is untouchable. With Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka now at the helm, I see this last month of the season as an audition.
Moves, Trades, and signings are coming as fans and the new front office grows impatient with this development process which will be going into year five. With that said, trading the core for a couple of all-stars that does not equate to title runs is not acceptable either. Six, seven and eight seeds in the playoffs are not what the Lakers are about. Guys like Kobe and Magic instilled in us that its rings or bust.
This off-season will be entertaining with the possibility of a top 3 first round pick and cap space for free agency. Things will definitely be exciting this summer.
– Chris Rodriguez