Can the Los Angeles Lakers Still Lure NBA Superstars?

There's never a "good" time for the Los Angeles Lakers to be terrible, but for this franchise, which prides itself on its tradition of winning, the failings of the 2013-14 NBA season thus far may occasion some unfortunate consequences for the future of the Purple and Gold.

Particularly if the team intends to rebuild through free agency.

Beyond the immediacy of a 14-23 record, 10 losses in 11 games, persistent injury problems for Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash and the collapse of the supporting cast—none of which is entirely shocking by any means—the Lakers must concern themselves with what happens next. How can the Lakers get back to their usual business of competing for championships? And how can they do so in short enough order to satisfy Bryant, whose desire to win at least one more title (to match Michael Jordan's six) is anything but a secret?


Agents, Not Free

The stock answer, it seems, is free agency. With a serious perusal of the NBA's annual "hot stove," L.A. should be able to find a superstar to both buoy Kobe's hopes of contention now and carry the organization's mantle going forward.

Especially now that the Lakers are due to be flush with cap space—even when taking Bryant's hefty extension into account—to a degree that feels foreign to a franchise with an established track record of free spending.

Trouble is, this summer's stock of top-notch sidekicks for the Black Mamba isn't likely to yield a singular talent "worthy" of the Lakers' fiscal admiration. LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh appear to be all but locked into a successful future with the Miami Heat. Carmelo Anthony has been witness to a frustrating storm that's engulfed his New York Knicks on multiple occasions this season but still seems unlikely to leave behind his team of choice—and the millions more the Knicks can pay him.

Rudy Gay and Zach...

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