Lakers Need More Than Superstars!
Could the Lakers be better off refusing to trade their young core and using the $32 million in cap space to build a dynamic roster?
While everyone’s saying the Raptors are why teams should gamble on renting a superstar, the bigger message the Lakers should take from Toronto could be that a roster of great role players is more important than another superstar.
As great as Kawhi Leonard played, the real heroes of the Toronto Raptors’ championship were their elite cast of great role players like Kyle Lowry, Fred VanVleet, Pascal Siakam, Marc Gasol, Danny Green, and Serge Ibaka. While Masai Ujiri deserves credit for duping the Spurs into trading Kawhi Leonard, his greater accomplishment was making the savvy draft picks and trades that put together the pieces that enabled him to win it all with just one superstar.
There’s a viable argument the Los Angeles Lakers should rethink their current strategy and resist the temptation of trading their young core for a second superstar and then using their $32 million in cap space for a third superstar. Even before the Warriors’ injuries leveled the playing field, it was obvious to see that the Raptors’ young legs, unsung talent, and diverse depth was giving Golden State problems strategically matching up at both ends of the court.
The Lakers may end up trading for Anthony Davis as their second superstar and surprising everybody by adding Kyrie Irving as their third superstar but there’s no way they’ll be able to put together a roster of difference making role players like the Raptors using room and veteran minimum exceptions. Trading for Anthony Davis may be the smart move for the Lakers right now but only if they keep part of their young core and use their cap space wisely.
That means at least keeping two of Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, and Josh Hart and using their cap space to add elite role players like Malcolm Brogdon, Danny Green, and Dewayne Dedmon rather than wasting it on a third overpaid and underutilized superstar. While you need superstars, the Raptors reminded everybody that it’s teams that win NBA championships.
So far, the Los Angeles Lakers have done an excellent job negotiating with the Pelicans but they need to stand firm and not be afraid to walk away if New Orleans is asking for too much. Kyle Kuzma and Josh Hart are exactly the kind of young role players that the Lakers are going to desperately need if they have any realistic hope of competing for a championship next season. They could be the Lakers’ versions of Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet.
There’s a right way and a wrong way to build a championship team and the Los Angeles Lakers could learn from what the Toronto Raptors have done. Sometimes it makes sense to gamble but it still takes a team to win it all.