Luke Walton was given a plan by Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak that he liked. It’s hard to imagine that that plan involved three-to-four more years of rebuilding.
The Lakers are the Lakers because they’re never in rebuilding mode for more than a few years and this is now a franchise that has not won a playoff series since 2012. The pressure is on Kupchak to flip the script this summer, and the only way Los Angeles can instantly turn into a title contender is by trading their upcoming lottery pick. The rumors have already started.
“I’ve now been told by two separate sources that even if the Lakers get the No. 1 pick they’re trading it,” said FOX Sports radio host Colin Cowherd. “They don’t want to rebuild anymore. They want to get a star NBA player. They will call teams if they get the No. 1 pick and shop it around the league.”
A package involving this year’s pick (LA currently has the second best odds of landing the No. 1 overall pick at 19.9 percent and they have a 55.8 percent chance of staying at No. 2) and last year’s No. 2 overall pick – D’Angelo Russell – would catch the ear of any GM around the league. The trick for the Lakers is finding a team that already has a superstar in place and a team that craves young talent.
The Knicks are the best bet. Phil Jackson would not have a tough time selling a young core of Kristaps Porzingis, D’Angelo Russell and a Ben Simmons or Brandon Ingram to New York fans. Carmelo Anthony is far from beloved in Manhattan, and the time just seems right for a blockbuster swap this summer.Jackson could mold that young core the way he wants, with no triangle interference from Carmelo.
As for the timing of a potential swap, the Lakerswould be best advised to make a major move on or around draft day (June 23). If they already have a superstar like Anthony in place, anything is possible in free agency for LA (still the marquee destination in the league).
LeBron wants to form a superteam with Carmelo? What better place than in LA?
Kevin Durant is serious about winning a title? What better place than in LA?
Walton is the hottest coaching name in the league right now, mostly due to his association with the Warriors. If the Lakers are armed with a player of Anthony’s caliber, a young, cheap, talentedpiece like Julius Randle, a name coach like Walton, and their unparalleled location – the formation of the superteam of superteams in Southern California is not out of the question.