“What you want me to do, I’m sorry! (Jay-Z voice).” – The Buss Siblings
I’ve been preserving optimism in Jeanie and Jim Buss since Dr. Jerry Buss passed away last February. Even with a few questionable decisions (offering Kobe Bryant a $48.5 million extension before returning from Achilles surgery, wasting time chasing Carmelo Anthony this summer), I haven’t strayed away from the optimism at hand.
The past two seasons have been challenging for the front office. With a myriad of injuries, tension in the locker room and a coach incapable of living up to the standards expected from our fans, they’ve had their hands tied. But with the clock ticking on Kobe Bryant’s career, and the clock ticking on Jim Buss’ own promise to step down if the Lakers aren’t contending in 3-4 years, it’s time for the Lakers to “Show me what you got.”
After spending nearly two weeks simply waiting to strike out on Carmelo Anthony, the Lakers moved along in free agency. Effectively, this caused them to miss out on targets such as Chandler Parsons and Isaiah Thomas, who would’ve made great additions to the roster.
In turn, the Lakers re-signed Nick “Swaggy P” Young (four years, $21.5 million) and Jordan Hill (two years, $18 million, team option in second year). Re-signing Swaggy was a good move, and I commend him for giving the Lakers a hometown discount. Hill’s deal, on the other hand, had me reacting in the manner of confusion until I found out that the second year was a team option. $9 million is a LOT for a player like Jordan Hill, but the contract is practically expiring, and I’m sure he’ll be flipped in a deal later on this season if one comes the Lakers’ way. The Lakers also acquired Jeremy Lin and 2015 first and second round draft picks from the Houston Rockets in exchange for an overseas player.
All of these moves went down on July 11, and when they initially occurred, we as fans had rightful reason to be worried. To top it all off, the Lakers later claimed Carlos Boozer off amnesty waivers, prompting even more criticism from fans and writers. Cue the state of emergency.
However, looking further into it, it’s not really THAT bad.
As noted before, Hill’s contract is basically expiring, as is Lin’s. They both need to produce in these contract years. And assuming it’s not stretched, the contract of Steve Nash is also set to slide off of the books next summer. Now, if (big if) Nash can miraculously stay healthy this season and actually produce, he would complete the trifecta of valuable trade assets that this team has to reload.
It’s hard to think so, but the Lakers have seemingly set themselves up nicely to rebuild. With rookies Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson, it’d be wise to keep them around for the upcoming renaissance. Fans, haters, and media alike are too used to the Lakers being on top. And it’s easy to say that they’re falling to rock bottom at a rapid pace.
Yes, nobody is used to them being in this position, but it’s best (for the fans, at least) to exercise some patience.
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