The front office has promised a star, fans crave it, but the youth needs it most.
When people think of Los Angeles, they think of bright lights, stars, and entertainment. You have movie studios, tourist attractions, amusement parks, clubs, food, and whatever else your heart may desire.
This is what fans think of the Lakers as well. “Showtime Era”. Superstars. Excitement. Hall of Famers. Championship legacies. Movie and music stars at Staples Center. Not to forget the world icon that is Kobe Bryant.
For several years though, the team has not lived up to these expectations. They have been outright bad, with no one that would objectively qualify as a star. There have been calls to trade high draft picks, the promising youth, or whatever it takes to add a star to return to the glory years.
With rumors swirling about Paul George being “hell-bent” on coming to the Lakers, according to Sam Amick of USA TODAY Sports, many fans are crying out for a trade. Hell, Zach Lowe even stated that he believes the “Lakers will offer multiple young pieces for Paul George.” Lakers fans were even “recruiting him“, if you can really call it that, to Tinseltown.
All the rumors and cries for Paul George got me thinking. Do the Lakers need a bonafide star? As a result of going back and forth in my own head, I came to one conclusion.
This conclusion actually surprised me when I arrived there.
Yes, the Lakers need a star. BUT, not for the reasons you are probably thinking.
Why the Lakers should not go after a star
If you see or hear anyone saying that the Lakers should trade for a star because “the Lakers do not rebuild, they win because of free agency and stars,” “LA needs one for the ratings,” or my personal favorite “Jeanie really wants a star for the All-Star Game in LA next year,” then run away as fast as you can. Then maybe go ahead and laugh a little bit.
While getting a star for marketing purposes is good for the team’s financials, these reasons probably are not the best way to build a successful franchise. In fact, this could lead to issues quickly, with another deep, ugly valley of putrid play in the future.
Spectrum is not going to break from their contract with the Lakers, Staples still sells out for Lakers games, and Jeanie can “go cry about it” as the great @SnottieDrippen would say on Twitter. There should be no rush to get a star for these reasons.
Why the Lakers should attempt to acquire a star
Improved and expedited development.
The reasoning to trade for a player like Paul George is as simple as that. He will take the pressure off the young players while they grow, as well as teach them how to play with proper techniques. George fits many, if not all of the needs the Lakers have. He is a good/great shooter, can play on or off ball, and provides excellent defense at the wing.
I am one of the first people that wants to “Trust the Process,” and dismiss many of the cries that losing kills player development, but there does come a point when this becomes an issue. Teaching young players to win is needed, but the little things a star could teach that would lead to more growth is invaluable. Teaching the youth proper techniques, how to handle situations, and just being able to get over the hump could do wonders.
The previous front office brought in guys like Luol Deng and Timofey Mozgov to be stop gaps and teach the young guys, but the problem is that they do not have the recognition or respect from the young players like a Paul George would command. This recognition would be something that the young guys could be drawn to, and drive them to be the best they can be.
That is a bit more “mumbo jumbo” than I would like to say, but the presence from a top 15-20 player is exponentially more advantageous for the youth than players who immediately had two of the worst contracts in the league.
Why I am in no rush for the Lakers to trade for a star
So, should the Lakers be looking at the market for Paul George or some other star that may be available during the offseason? Sure, why not?
As someone who wants the rebuild to continue, I still believe there are legitimate benefits to adding a star. The question for the Lakers is going to be how much are they willing to pay? This is where I am in no rush.
If the Lakers can make a Paul George trade or a deal for a different star without including Russell, Ingram, or even the possibility of Markelle Fultz, then look at it. If any of those three are being demanded for, then just wait it out.
Waiting sucks, but ride it out. If Amick is really right about Paul George wanting to come to LA anyways, then why package the farm for him? If Paul George is coming in free agency, then LA is getting the star the fans and front office want, while the players get the star they need for development.
Follow us on Twitter, Instagram, SoundCloud and Facebook for all your Lakers news.
Feature Photo: Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2012 NBAE (Photo by Juan Ocampo/NBAE via Getty Images)