What LeBron, Rich, Jeanie, and Rob Can Do to Fix Lakers This Summer!
The reality is this season is toast and the Lakers brain trust of LeBron James, Rich Paul, Jeanie Buss, and Rob Pelinka that’s responsible for getting us into this dismal situation will be the same group charged with finding a solution.
There’s no question there’s enough blame to share with players, coaches, and front office for the situation the Lakers find themselves in even before trying to factor in the wave of injuries that have helped derail the Lakers’ season.
LeBron’s to blame for pushing the Westbrook trade; Rich Paul for vetoing trading THT for Kyle Lowry; Jeanie Buss for not paying the luxury taxes to keep Alex Caruso; Rob Pelinka for being unwilling to take back long contracts.
As we wait for the final gasps of this season, let’s focus on what LeBron James, Rich Paul, Jeanie Buss, and Rob Pelinka can each do to fix the Lakers’ issues. Here is what each of them can specifically do this summer to fix the Lakers:
1. LeBron James Can Sign His Contract Extension
The Lakers first priority this summer is to lock up LeBron James for another two years. While he will not be eligible to sign an extension until August 4th, LeBron James needs to verbally commit to the Lakers when the season ends.
The roster moves the Lakers should make this summer should LeBron agree to sign an extension could be dramatically different than if James declines to sign an extension and threatens to become a free agent the end of the season. Ironically, the Lakers could even decide to trade James this summer were he unwilling to sign an extension so there’s no way Rob Pelinka can wait until August 4th or later to find out if LeBron was going to commit to the Lakers.
The single most important thing LeBron James can do to fix the Lakers this summer is to commit at the end of the season to sign a new 2-year extension to remain with the Lakers when he becomes eligible to do so on August 4th.
2. Rich Paul Can Help Lakers Rebuild Their Roster
Rich Paul and Klutch Sports need to work hard this offseason to heal any breaches in their alliance with the Lakers and help Rob Pelinka rebuild the roster with players who better complement Klutch clients LeBron and AD.
Rich can do that in several ways. First, the Lakers are going to be needing a point guard to replace Russell Westbrook. Klutch should work with Houston to get a buyout for John Wall so he could sign for the minimum with L.A. Second, the Lakers two biggest trading chips besides Russell Westbrook are Klutch clients Talen Horton-Tucker and Kendrick Nunn. Paul should have a good idea of which teams showed interest in THT and Nunn in the past.
The Lakers need to move guards Horton-Tucker and Nunn for bigger forwards and/or a center to enable their small ball lineups to work offensively and defensively. Rich Paul needs to help the Lakers find the right trading partners.
3. Jeanie Buss Can Loosen the Lakers’ Purse Strings
There’s been considerable criticism of Jeanie Buss and Lakers’ ownership for not being willing to spend whatever it takes to win championships, especially when it comes to taking on long-term contracts or paying mega luxury taxes.
While Dr. Buss never incurred huge luxury taxes, he always understood that you have to spend money to make money in the entertainment business. His daughter Jeanie needs to understand that the rules for winning have changed. Unlike during Jerry Buss’ tenure, NBA teams today are willing to incur $100 to 200 million in luxury taxes to win a championship, figures that no teams were ever willing to pay during Dr. Buss’ tenure as the Lakers owner.
Jeanie Buss needs to step up to the plate and guarantee LeBron James that she will be willing to accept reasonable long term contracts and mega luxury taxes needed to build a championship caliber roster in today’s NBA.
4. Rob Pelinka Can Make the Right Moves This Summer
As the head of basketball operations for the Lakers, Rob Pelinka is going to get an opportunity this summer to reverse the Russell Westbrook trade and build a true championship caliber roster around LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
The challenge facing Pelinka will be less daunting than at the recent trade deadline where he opted to do nothing. This summer, Rob will not only have Westbrook’s $47 million expiring contract but also two first round draft picks. The Lakers need to trade Russ’ expiring contract for two or three players who would upgrade the roster or could be flipped for other players. They’re better off waiving and stretching Russ than giving up draft picks just to move him.
In the end, Rob Pelinka needs to turn Westbrook, Horton-Tucker, Nunn, Johnson, and our 2027 and 2029 first round picks into three championship quality new starters to complement LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
If you enjoyed this article and want to share your ideas and comments with other Lakers fans, please join us at Lakerholics.Com.