It has been no secret that the Los Angeles Lakers have been building through the draft the past few seasons. Since Dwight Howard’s departure, the legendary franchise has struggled to sign the big name free agents. With Magic Johnson and new General Manager Rob Pelinka in the fold many Lakers fans expect that to change. The question I ask is should the Lakers’ want the big name free agents? The Lakers have a talented young core and are hoping to add yet another top pick in what is expected to be a loaded draft. Any potential free-agent signing would simply take valuable minutes away from the team’s developing players. Here I will discuss what Lakers fans can expect from the front office under Magic.
Front Office Versatility
I’m sure Magic is keeping an open mind and is preparing for every possible scenario. He has made it very clear to the fans and the players that he is currently in the process of evaluating everyone. I’m sure he is hoping that all the team’s young players become all-stars but is likely preparing in the event that does not happen. What happens if D’Angelo Russell, Julius Randle, or Brandon Ingram don’t pan out? That would leave free agency as the only logical option of moving the franchise in the right direction. I still believe in the Lakers young nucleus but in the event of a doomsday scenario the Lakers will be able to be more of a player in free-agency with Magic calling the shots. A time will come when the Lakers front office must decide which of their young players they want to pay and which ones they should trade. The new CBA makes it harder for the Lakers to sign free agents and easier for them to retain their own. Whatever decision the front office decides to make I trust that Magic will have done his homework.
Yes and No
In my opinion, the Lakers don’t need the big name free agents but will have a better chance of getting them should they need them. I believe they already possess some very talented players at every position. When Magic was named President of basketball operations he was quick to trade Lou Williams and sit veteran players Luol Deng and Timofey Mozgov to give the young players the minutes they needed to develop. With the extra boost in minutes the Lakers’ young players have had some of their best individual performances this season. Russell, Randle, and Ingram are playing some of their best basketball and are really starting to get more comfortable. Even Ivica Zubac and Jordan Clarkson have had some impressive performances as of late. With the Lakers poised to add another talented player in this year’s draft I just don’t see why the Lakers should rush the process by bringing in a player like Paul George or Demarcus Cousins a year from now. However, the Lakers should still look for veteran free agents who can actually contribute unlike Deng and Mozgov. The only thing the young Lakers need right now is time and experience. It will be nice for Lakers fans to root for their homegrown players for a change rather than just renting stars for a few years.
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