Life after Kobe Bryant has led to a 1-0 start for the Los Angeles Lakers, and the arrow appears to be pointing upwards. Are the Lakers a playoff contender? Can the Lakers rebuild quickly? Is the current Los Angeles Lakers team what fans will see at the end of the season? The answers to those questions will be determined by how aggressive the Lakers are in the NBA trade market.
According to one of the NBA rumors floating around, the Los Angeles Lakers are reportedly targeting one of the NBA’s players. San Antonio Spurs all-star power forward LaMarcus Aldridge has emerged as a target for the Los Angeles Lakers, per Yibada.
Aldridge would help advance the Lakers in their pursuit of remaining relevant for seasons to come. That is what the Lakers want in the wake of Kobe Bryant’s retirement from the NBA (courtesy of the Los Angeles Times) in early April.
Kobe Bryant was certainly a great player, but the Los Angeles Lakers want their fan base to focus more on their current team and less on what he is doing post-retirement. Winning games will help the Lakers do that.
Thus far, the narrative surrounding the Lakers has been about life after Kobe. Stories like GQ’s article about Kobe Bryant’s new retirement beard seems to have gained more traction than the Lakers as a team. That is not how the Los Angeles Lakers want to get headlines. It should be unacceptable for a proud franchise and Laker Nation. The Lakers getting LaMarcus Aldridge from the Spurs would be a step in changing that.
Many will recall that the Los Angeles Lakers attempted to lure LaMarcus Aldridge in NBA free agency last year. Many of the NBA rumors that circulated during the summer of 2015 were dominated by Aldridge choosing between the Lakers and the Spurs. SB Nation cited that the Lakers lost out on the Aldridge sweepstakes because they talked more about the opportunities off the court than on it.
— Hoops Rumors (@HoopsRumors) October 20, 2016
Understanding that playing for the Los Angeles Lakers is about a quality of life and a lifestyle, there has to be a particular personality to play there. Even if basketball is first, second, and third on the list of priorities, the ability to embrace the Los Angeles lifestyle is key.
LaMarcus Aldridge chose to play for the Spurs instead of the Lakers because he wants to win NBA championships. The Lakers want to compete for titles within the next four years. A problem came when Aldridge wanted to hear about how the Lakers planned on getting there. Promoting the glamor and glitz of Los Angeles worked against the Lakers when they recruited him as an NBA free agent.
Just based off of pure basketball reasons, LaMarcus Aldridge has not been a good fit with the Spurs.
There have been times when Aldridge has struggled with the Spurs, and there have also been rumblings about Aldridge being unhappy in San Antonio, which he denies (courtesy of Slam Magazine). Keep a close eye on this situation the coming weeks.
“I didn’t buy into it. I haven’t heard anything about it. I talk to Pop [Head Coach Gregg Popovich] daily, and he always tells me I’m doing great and [I’m] trying to learn new things and trying to be more of a leader, and he’s putting me in positions where I can be more of a leader. So as long as the guys here aren’t saying bad things to me, and all my teammates have said nothing but great things to me. So as long as the guys in my family here aren’t saying bad things, then I’m fine.”
As Aldridge has looked to find his way on the team, he has at times looked lost. It is bad to a point where one would ask if he would have been better off joining the Lakers. The problem with that thinking is LaMarcus Aldridge was leaving a good situation with the Portland Trailblazers. Why would he go to a lesser team in the Los Angeles Lakers?
What would the Lakers have to offer LaMarcus Aldridge that was better than the Trailblazers already had, and the Spurs were offering? With the Lakers, LaMarcus Aldridge would be the man. He would have been the Lakers’ top draw in the post-Kobe Bryant era. This begs for a do-over with all parties involved.
LaMarcus Aldridge told me re: trade rumors “I didn’t buy into it. I haven’t heard anything about it,” "I’m happy" https://t.co/OUxc0HN4Pf
— Jim Rome (@jimrome) October 20, 2016
If the NBA rumors are true about the San Antonio Spurs scratching the surface on a LaMarcus Aldridge trade, the Los Angeles Lakers should pounce. An offer of Julius Randle, Jordan Clarkson, and Nick Young could be enough for the Lakers to convince the Spurs to deal.
With Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson, the Spurs could quickly retool at two areas where they need young, up and coming players. Point guard Tony Parker is not playing forever and Clarkson would be a nice, future replacement. The Spurs essentially would get a potential productive starter, if not a future all-star at power forward in Julius Randle. Randle’s work ethic would improve in the Spurs’ organization. Getting him back would balance out losing Aldridge.
Going to the Lakers could motivate LaMarcus Aldridge to put the young team on his back and lead them to the playoffs. After working on his game, Aldridge is the ultimate fit for the Lakers at this time.
For now, LaMarcus Aldridge heading to the Los Angeles Lakers is one of those NBA rumors that will only gain momentum as the season goes. Is anything imminent between the Los Angeles Lakers and San Antonio Spurs? That is what everyone wants to know.
[Featured Image by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images]