Los Angeles Lakers free agency plans are being changed by management after they failed to secure big name players, according to ESPN.
For a while there, free agency was pretty easy for the Los Angeles Lakers. They figuratively could have sent a limo to the airport and see which NBA star was going to show up when the vehicle arrived at the Staples Center. Since they are no longer a top free agent destination any more, Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak have no choice but to change up their game plan next summer.
Earlier this summer, the Los Angeles Lakers desperately tried to acquire another NBA superstar so that Kobe Bryant would not have to chase his sixth championship alone. League executives were certain that LaMarcus Aldridge wanted to leave the Portland Trailblazers because they were not able to build a contending roster around him. It’s not every day that you can add a 6’11”, 240 pound All Star forward to your squad, so Mitch Kupchak jumped at the chance. He knew that he could appease Bryant by adding Aldridge to the Lakers starting lineup. The two of them would be good enough offensively to challenge for the title.
LaMarcus Aldridge chose to sign with the San Antonio Spurs, as the Los Angeles Lakers free agency plan failed. Rather than talking to the 30-year-old forward about how head coach Byron Scott was going to utilize Aldridge in the Lakers offensive scheme, they talked about all the fun places to hang out in Los Angeles. Rather than explaining to Aldridge how the Lakers were going to mesh him with Kobe Bryant, Jim Buss talked about all the potentially lucrative business opportunities that LaMarcus could find in Los Angeles.
Jim Buss now knows that he and general manager Mitch Kupchak need to focus more on basketball when doing their free agency pitches. Players want to know what the plans for them are, and they want a chance to win. That was not something that the Los Angeles Lakers offered LaMarcus Aldridge when they had two conversations with one another. Having learned from that, Buss and Kupchak will let Los Angeles sell itself so they can focus on selling their once prestigious franchise to NBA stars. They need to relearn how to attract the top names in basketball like they used to.
Kevin Durant is a part of the Los Angeles Lakers free agency plans next summer. Though he has been slightly surpassed by Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry, Durant still remains one of the best players in the NBA. His name value and presence will be crucial if the Lakers want their fans to continue paying for some of the highest ticket prices in the NBA. Durant is also the type of player that will be required if Los Angeles wants to hang up another championship banner at the Staples Center.
One of the things that might help the Los Angeles free agency efforts is the fact that Kobe Bryant has announced his retirement from the NBA. For years, there were rumors that certain free agents avoided signing with the team because they did not want to deal with the Lakers legend. His demeanor and unwillingness to share the ball pushed stars elsewhere, much like it did when Dwight Howard joined the Houston Rockets. Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss will no longer have to answers about Bryant when free agents come to town. They can now focus on trying to get signatures on the dotted lines.
Do you think that the retirement of Kobe Bryant will help the Los Angeles Lakers attract free agents?
[Featured Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images]