To all Lakers fans dreaming of Durant replacing Kobe this summer … forget it
This has been a lost season for the LA Lakers.
The team’s superstar, Kobe Bryant, is in his final NBA season — and despite a few glimmers of the old Bryant, his farewell tour has been mostly tough to watch as he soaks up too many important minutes, keeping younger players on the bench at times.
Better yet? The Lakers have even admitted this season (11-45, worst record in the Western Conference) is all about Kobe. In other words, the franchise is openly wasting a year in the careers of hopeful future cornerstones like D’Angelo Russell and Julius Randle. Super strategery.
But at least Lakers faithful have this offseason to look forward to, with likely a high lottery pick (so long as they don’t blow it and start winning, since the 76ers own their pick if LA finishes out of the top three in the NBA Draft) — plus, all that juicy salary-cap room once their living legend leaves to free up $25 million on the annual books.
Then the team could sign an elite, franchise-changing free agent — like Kevin Durant, right?
POOF! End of dream sequence begins … now, courtesy of Yahoo! Sports NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski on FOX Sports Radio (listen to full clip here):
"The Lakers are not front-runners for Kevin Durant, he wants to win a championship. If he leaves Oklahoma, he may end up staying there and I’ve written that. Golden State is a team that is worrisome for Oklahoma City — that’s a team that has Kevin Durant’s attention. Kevin Durant wants to win a championship right away and either he wants to do that in Oklahoma City with the group they have or he’s going to go somewhere where he can win a title right away. "Kevin Durant doesn’t care if they have the first pick, the second pick, third pick; no free agent cares. No free agent of his stature cares what draft pick a team has because that guy is not going to help them win championships in the next two or three years. And if Kevin Durant leaves Oklahoma, he wants to be ready to win a championship right away. He’s at a point in his career where he cant wait two or three years and hope that it happens. I think part of his criteria, sources tell me, will be, ‘Is that team good enough to beat Golden State with me on it? Or is it Golden State? Or can I stay in Oklahoma and continue to be able to do that and compete for a championship? "Listen, I just don’t think that the Lakers are a real significant factor for Kevin Durant."
Sure, the Lakers will still always be in the running for major free agents and will surely sign some decent names even if they whiff on the biggest fish in the sea in Durant. But if they can’t land KD — and he goes to a team like Golden State that’s already built for winning now, doesn’t that even further delay Lakers hopes for true title contention by another few years?