Lakers' offseason guide to becoming successful

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The Lakers have a pivotal offseason ahead with many decisions to make. There are so many question marks after being eliminated by the Denver Nuggets in five games in the first round.

Their journey to success will commence with a meticulous head coaching search, a decision that holds the key to the future of the franchise. Additionally, they face the choice of pursuing a third star or bolstering their rotation with more depth. 

With these factors in play, let’s break down the Lakers’ offseason guide to becoming successful.

1. Make the right coaching hire

Everything with LA starts with making the correct coaching hire. The Lakers will begin interviewing candidates this week. 

The potential candidates for the coaching position are diverse and promising. 

They include JJ Redick, a seasoned former player with a deep understanding of the game, former Charlotte Hornets head coach James Borrego, former Brooklyn Nets head coach and Golden State Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson, Denver Nuggets assistant coach David Adelman, Miami Heat assistant coach Chris Quinn, and Minnesota Timberwolves lead assistant coach Micah Nori.

Ty Lue would instantly jump to the top of the list if he left the Los Angeles Clippers.

The Purple and Gold must find a coach who can be the leader of the locker room for years to come. If they hire a rookie head coach, it will be crucial to surround them with former head coaches as assistants.

2. Re-sign LeBron James

The next step to remaining in contention is to re-sign LeBron James. While James is 39 years old, he is still playing at an All-NBA level.

James appeared in 71 of the 82 regular season games, averaging 26/7/8 with 1.3 steals on 54/41/75 shooting splits.

He is one of the greatest players ever, and the front office wants to keep him until he retires. James could opt into his $51.4 million player option, and he could re-sign on a multi-year deal whether he opts in or not.

The Lakers may draft Bronny in the second round to help convince LeBron to stay with the team. They must retain LeBron to be in title contention.

3. Keep continuity

Another thing that would be beneficial is keeping continuity. Looking at the teams in the Western Conference that remain in the playoffs, they have kept their core together and allowed them to grow as a unit.

The Denver Nuggets, Oklahoma City Thunder, and Minnesota Timberwolves have kept their main core together. Over the years, they have added depth and pieces to their rotation without completely altering their roster.

Some changes are needed for the LakeShow to win, but they can’t alter their entire roster. This is true even if they make a move for a third star. The Lakers need to keep role players who already have chemistry with James and Davis.

4. Upgrade at center

Regardless of whether the Lakers add a third star, a big key is upgrading at center. Davis is one of the best in the league, but they need someone who fits next to him and can be a quality backup.

Teams like Denver and Minnesota have a ton of size, and it can’t be solely on Davis to contain them.

In free agency, they should target bigs like Isaiah Hartenstein, Jonas Valanciunas, and Andre Drummond as a cheaper option. 

In 2020, when LA won the title, Davis spent most of his time at power forward with JaVale McGee and Dwight Howard at center. While Davis doesn’t need to return to power forward full-time, adding a big player who can play alongside him and as a backup gives the team more versatility.

They must improve their big rotation to put less pressure on Davis when going up against the Timberwolves and Nuggets.

5. Add a bench scorer

The Lakers had some solid role players like Taurean Prince, but they didn’t have a reliable scorer off the bench.

If LA goes with the depth route and doesn’t add a third star, they must add a bench scorer. They should target Malik Monk, Kelly Oubre, and Buddy Hield in free agency. 

A reunion with Monk should be the top option. The 26-year-old averaged 15/3/5 on 44/35/83 shooting splits. However, it could be difficult to land Monk as he should earn a big payday after being the runner-up for the 6th Man of the Year award.

Oubre is another option after having a productive year for the Philadelphia 76ers. Oubre averaged 15/5/2 with 1.1 steals per game on 44/31/75 shooting splits.

He is great at getting to the basket and is also solid on the defensive end of the floor. Oubre’s two-way play could be highly beneficial for the Lakers.

Hield is likely the cheapest option for the bench unit and has been a target for the Purple and Gold for multiple years.

The 31-year-old sharpshooter averaged 12/3/3 on 44/39/89 shooting splits. Hield’s elite shooting could do wonders in a lineup next to James and Davis.

The Lakers have a ton of work to do this offseason. If Rob Pelinka and the front office want to be successful, they need to hit on the five keys of making the right coaching hire, re-signing LeBron James, keeping continuity, upgrading at center, and adding a bench scorer.

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