Will Lakers Depart from ‘Let’s Make a Deal’ Team-Building in Offseason?

The futility of the Los Angeles Lakers' present has forced the franchise's legions of fantasts to reflect on its glorious past and project a triumphant future, if only to stave off the insanity that creeps in while watching the Purple and Gold get steamrolled night after night.

The most popular refuge for those seeking quick fixes? Free agency.

As the conventional wisdom goes, the Lakers are the be-all, end-all of destination franchises. They've got everything a superstar in search of a new home could ever want: the winning tradition, the lineage of great players, the willingness to spend in pursuit of victory, the global brand and, of course, everything that comes with the locale (i.e. the ingredients of Kendrick Lamar's "recipe").

So, naturally, the Lakers should have their pick of every free-agent litter so long as they have the requisite cap space because, well, they're the Lakers, and because they're the Lakers, they've always been the hot spot for free agents...right?

Except, the team's history suggests otherwise.


The Reality of Rebuilding

In the quarter-century that unrestricted free agency has been a thing in the NBA, the Lakers have signed just one superstar from another squad: Shaquille O'Neal. Since then, the title of "Biggest Lakers Free-Agent Addition" evokes a three-way tie between Metta World Peace, Karl Malone and Gary Payton, the latter two of whom spent a single season in L.A. toward the end of their respective Hall of Fame careers.

The rest of L.A.'s major, modern-day additions—Kobe Bryant, Lamar Odom, Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard—have come via trade. Even Steve Nash, whom the Lakers signed away from the Phoenix Suns in July 2012, arrived in a swap that sent four draft picks back to the Valley of the Sun.

Truth be told, trades have long been the "Laker Way" of rebooting the franchise. That's how the team ...

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