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).
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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.