The Los Angeles Lakers have some huge decisions to make after their disastrous 2013 season. One thing we know for sure though is the Lakers normally get these decisions right. That is how a franchise hangs 16 World Championship banners in the rafters. They do it by making the right moves in the off-season.
So what do they do in this offseason? Well, the first thing they need to do is lock down center Dwight Howard to a five year deal. The fact that they can give Dwight that fifth year at around 30 million gives them a leg up. They can’t afford to lose Howard and get nothing which tells us they are going to try their best to re-sign him. Otherwise, with a season gong nowhere at the trade deadline, they would have dumped him. That way they at least get something in return. If he walks ow, they get nothing.
Item number two on the agenda, if I were them, would be to sign free agent point guard Chris Paul. The Lakers thought they had Paul once before until David Stern vetoed a trade.His reasoning was it was too one-sided in the Lakers favor. It is hard to see how it could have been any more one-sided than the trade that brought Howard in was, but I digress.
Paul and Howard have often talked of getting together. The problem was that they could not agree on the venue. Paul wasn’t interested in Orlando. Howard wasn’t turned on by New Orleans. Then they couldn’t agree on any other teams. But now, since Paul already plays at the Staples Center and so does Howard, all they have to do is agree on which team.
Since the Lakers are the ones with all those banners in the rafters, then that makes it a no-brainer. Should the Lakers succeed in signing Paul away from the Clippers, then they have Steve Nash to use as trade bait. Even at his advanced age, he still has value and could bring in a draft pick or a younger player.
Then they must decide what to do with Pau Gasol, Ron Artest and Antawn Jamison. With Paul, Howard and hopefully a healthy Kobe Bryant, Gasol can still fit in at the power forward and Artest at small forward. Or perhaps Nash could bring in a small forward a bit younger.
Also, Steve Blake has some trade value as he filled in nicely for Nash and Bryant when they were injured, which was often. He had some injury problems himself though, so a back-up role with the Lakers might be where he fits in.
No matter what the Lakers do, as long as they get Howard and Paul, and Bryant gets back healthy, they will be a strong contender. Also signing Paul away from the Clippers would end this Clippers uprising and permanently put the Lakers as the top dog in Los Angeles.