What We Learned About the Los Angeles Lakers This Offseason

If we learned anything this summer about the Los Angeles Lakers, it’s that their determination to get back to the mountaintop of the NBA far outweighs any concrete plan on how to do it.

When you’re talking about an iconic sports franchise that’s won 16 league championships and produced some of the brightest stars to ever suit up, the proverbial bar is already set at ultra-high when it comes to rebuilding an old, injury-plagued, misdirected roster.

The Lakers today are more in focus than they were in June, if for no other reason than they finally have a head coach (Byron Scott), first-round lottery pick (Julius Randle) and a roster of newly signed (and re-signed) free agents.

Logic would indicate this was not necessarily their Plan A, since Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak took over three months to hire Scott and has never been a big advocate of holding onto and using a high first-round draft pick.

Had Carmelo Anthony or LeBron James been serious about jumping to the Lakers, Kupchak and the Buss kids (Jim and Jeanie) would have surely given up the pick that later became 19-year-old power forward Julius Randle of Kentucky in a heartbeat.

James was a pipe dream for the Lakers, but Anthony was serious enough about a move to L.A. that he came out west for a meeting with Kupchak and Lakers vice president of player personnel Jim Buss.

Though some fans of the quick fix may not like it, the Lakers were better off not signing the free agent this summer.  Anthony in a Lakers uniform, playing alongside his friend Kobe Bryant, surely would have been entertaining. But as management probably recognized, hardcore Lakers fans care way more about championships than about high-wire basketball acrobatics.

Still, Kupchak pursued Anthony because Bryant expressed his desire to see him in Los Angeles, and ownership saw the incredible entertainment value in having the two play...

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