Last summer when LeBron signed the longest contract of his career to join the raw but spry Lakers' roster, it was implied that the team would need to be aggressive during the 2019 offseason. Many expected the Lakers to compete for the playoffs—some even expected a title—but despite the obvious potential of their young core, it was clear that more experienced reinforcements would need to be signed to match the expectations that come with a LeBron-led team.
It is still apparent—even more so than before—that the Lakers need to bolster their roster. But after the dispiriting regular season, the ease of that happening and the guarantee of success are now much cloudier.
Will the Lakers even be able to land one of the prized free agents from the loaded 2019 class, or was their mid-season drama too unsettling? Will Boston be able to overmatch their offer for Anthony Davis? And the elephant in the room: Are the Lakers better off betting on their young core than on a 34-year-old LeBron who was incapable of even contending for a playoff spot?
LeBron has a history of arriving in a new city and influencing the front office to use its resources to commit to the “right now”(see Andrew Wiggins), only to expose the franchise once he leaves. In the past, this overextension could be justified by the automatic ticket to the finals that LeBron once was, but sadly it’s now clear that is not the case. This is the mistake that the Lakers cannot make. If they do not want to end up in the NBA’s mediocrity purgatory like Cleveland or Miami—or even the post– Dwight and Nash Lakers—they must improve their roster without sacrificing assets. Yes, this even includes trading for Anthony Davis.