For the third straight summer, the Lakers whiffed on a marquee free agent, and for the 3rd straight year, a lot of the blame is being pinned on Kobe Bryant.
In 2013 Dwight Howard wanted nothing to do with Kobe and the Lakers lost him to Houston; in 2014, the Lakers made a run at Carmelo Anthony, and in 2015 Kobe was such a disaster in the meeting with LaMarcus Aldridge, LA brass pushed for a 2nd meeting without the future of Hall of Famer.
The team that will thank Kobe Bryant most for his lack of success with free agents? Kobe’s hometown Philadelphia 76ers.
The 76ers own LA’s 2016 1st round pick. It is Top 3 protected. The Lakers, after whiffing on Kevin Love, Aldridge and DeMarcus Cousins, don’t have enough to get to the playoffs in the loaded West, but have just enough to not be one of the three worst teams in the league.
PG – Russell, Clarkson
SG – Kobe, Lou Williams
SF – Nick Young, Larry Nance Jr.
PF – Randle, Bass, Ryan Kelly
C – Hibbert, Robert Sacre
On paper, the Lakers are better than the Nuggets, and health-pending, should be just as good (or better) as the Timberwolves, Kings and Blazers.
In the East, the Knicks and 76ers will once again reside near the bottom of the standings. The Nets, who
traded cut Deron Williams and are actively trying to trade Joe Johnson, will be an abomination.
Best-case scenario, 76ers fans: Jahlil Okafor has a tremendous rookie season, but the 76ers stink, and the Lakers are bad but not awful, and Philadelphia picks up the 1st and 4th picks in the 2016 draft. What about Ben Simmons and Melo Trimble? They’d be instant starters as rookies.
And even if Okafor is better than tremendous, Nerlens Noel is the second coming of Marcus Camby, Nik Stauskas turns into a 3-point assassin, and the 76ers are decent, there’s still a chance they nab a high pick because they can swap picks with Sacramento, which could be headed for disaster.
I’m sure asset-loving Sam Hinkie is thrilled at the prospect of two Top 10 picks in the 2016 draft, and then possibly convincing Dario Saric to leave Turkey for the NBA next summer.
Time to get back on board the Hinkie Express!