So I'm at crossroads with my Laker franchise. I played through one season and face a plateau with either being loyal to a Laker great, or paving the way for a new generation. Kobe vs. Kevin Durant. Granted, if this was real life, it would probably be a no brainer. And it isn't a straight up trade (not to say that trades in this game are REALISTIC per se, but it's what we have to work with). Here's how we got here (brace yourself, this is a long one, TWSS)
I seemed to have D'Antoni in the brain as after about 3 games (all blowout losses for the Lakers) I had enough of Chris Kaman. I tried to find a trade partner, but wanted to get draft picks for him and as high up as I could get. The only way I could get a #1 pick was to throw in Wesley Johnson to the 76rs. I jumped on that trade, and thankfully I did as you will see in the near future.
The Lakers turn it around and win 12 of their next 20 games. The brightest spot is Jordan Hill who is playing out of his mind. Averaging 15 rebounds and 25 points per game. He's the team leader in both categories. Kobe, being Kobe, seems to have a terrible mid-range to long range jumper (except in the post) but can slice through any defense and finish in traffic. Nash is shooting well, but turning the ball over at a surprisingly high level. Nick Young is bombing 3pters. Defense is the problem, despite Hill's 3 blocks/game, as Nash can't stop anyone from slicing and dicing him and help defense causes the entire team to collapse. I can't fire D'Antoni or anyone really since you have to unlock it (ugh, don't get me started on this garbage. Additional plug: I do a video game podcast and if you want to hear my issues with this micro-transaction BS feel free to check it out here. We'd appreciate any listeners we can get. Anyway, back to the story) so I just decide to ride out the storm. D'Antoni is only under contract for a year anyway, so we'll see.
During all of this, I am scouting for the draft and have my eyes on 3 players (note I did a random draft class instead of importing one): a franchise changing shooting guard, a center with big upside (named Tim Duncan for some reason), and a 6'9 "center" who is really athletic.
Anyway, the Lakers are playing a bit above .500 basketball, along with terrible defense and high turnovers. Suddenly, tragedy happens : Steve Nash tweaks his back and is out 3-4 weeks. No problem I have Steve Blake there. So he takes over and is running the offense well. The Lakers continue to play ok for 3 weeks until...Kobe fractures his ankle and is out 4-6 weeks...(the timing and types of injuries that the players suffered was very strange. Kobe, in my game, was injured the day after Kobe was re-injured in real life). So suddenly I go from trying to tread water, so having a terrible team out there and I need to make some moves.
I've always coveted Kirk Heinrich and needed someone who could possibly check an opposing PG. I was able to get him AND a 1st round pick for Jodi Meeks (yikes). Now that I had a new starting PG, there was no room for Farmar on this team anymore. I scoured the league and was able to find a taker in the Pistons who traded Kyle Singler for him. Singler was an immediate spark as he is a pretty great 3pt shooter and an explosive dunker.
Xavier Henry was doing really well at the beginning of the season but struggled down the line, so I traded him and Steve Jackson (I signed him during the offseason) to the Hawks for a 1st rounder again.
I was building this team for the future, rather than the present, so I guess you could argue I was "tanking" but I was still playing trying to win the games I had and my team was more athletic and better shooters. Offense was never the problem. Defense was a mess still (ranked 29th before the trades and 28th after).
My last move was trading Steve Nash. I felt a twinge of guilt as I traded Nash to the Pelicans for Ryan Anderson (who was rated at 66 for some reason). I immediately regretted this, as Ryan Anderson rated at 66 is infinitely worse than the Ryan Anderson we know in real life. I thought he would work as a stretch 4, but nope. He was garbage but I couldn't find any trades that worked for me, so I kept him.
Due to Kobe being out most of the year (he was injured 2 more times that season, but still rated at 94) the Lakers finished up at 32-50, good for the 10th pick in the draft. Miami won their 4,578th straight title. Yay.
Then the Lottery happens. The 76ers were awful. So bad that they led the league with a 25% chance to win the draft, and they did. That pick belonged to me. I was elated to see that the Lakers now owned the first pick in the draft. Despite the pleas of GMs and owners to trade them the pick (and a strongly worded letter from Mark Cuban and "Comic Sans Man" Dan Gilbert to David Stern), I selected my franchise changing shooting guard with the first pick (he is a terrible looking character with a porn stache and 1 terrible tattoo). My next pick comes up at 10 and, lookie here, my center "Tim Duncan" is there for me to pick up. Despite requests to trade the pick, I snatched him up too. Lastly, I had the 19th pick in the draft from Chicago and I my 6'9 "center" was still there! Lucky day! Snatched him up too. I also had the 20th pick in the draft for a trade I cannot remember right now, and traded it to the Bobcats for their 2015 1st rounder. This is important later on.
So I'm done with the draft and it's time to re-sign FA. Kobe and Jordan Hill are my only players I'm keeping. Kobe requests a 1 year $14million dollar contract. Seems good. Jordan Hill requests a 4 year, 18 million. For his production, that sounds great. I match their demands and they say they'll "think about it".
We get to free agency now and Lebron James available! Wow, he wants a 4 year $86 million contract. I have the cap room and offer it to him. He says he'll think about it. I advance a week and Kobe and Hill accept my offers. Suddenly, in my stupidity, I forgot that I had offered those contracts and now I can no longer sign LeBron. I have a LeSad. Cursing my luck (and you can't re-do moves in this games. Once you trade or sign someone, the game auto-saves and that's it. No going back. I like that aspect) I see what else I can do. Isaiah Thomas is available, so I get him for a 3 year $21 million contract. With my 3 rookies and minor salaries (Heinrich, Singler, Young) and a small signing (Omri Caspi) I had a decent amount of cap room (except for Ryan Anderson at $9million). I decide to just wing it and see what I can do with this team. Also, Pau signed with the Heat and LeBron signed with the 76rs, so they made up for that terrible trade for the pick to me.
I start the 2014 season I've had it with Anderson. He's awful and I need interior defense. So I swing him and Sacre to the Rockets for Omar Asik. I win 4 of my first 6 games but feel that I need to make a Mitch-like splash.
I decide I think I have the pieces to try to swing a Durant trade. I have 3 highly touted 4 star prospects, a 3 star 1st round draft pick (the highest rated) and Kobe (yes I know not realistic). I try it with the Thunder GM and while he doesn't agree, he doesn't turn it down completely, and most importantly, his interest level remains unchanged. This means he just needs a slight nudge to accept the trade. There are some "GM moves" you can do to push the trade over the edge and I have them available.
So here we are. After 1400 words, this is where my Laker franchise stands. Do I trade Kobe, my highly rated 1st round pick and one of my star prospects (Tim Duncan or the 6'9 "center") for Durant? In real life this is probably a no brainer I said, but trading a Laker legend to OKC to re-start my franchise makes me feel kind of...gross. This is only a game, I know, but the Laker love makes this feel like an unthinkable move.
Would you all do it?
Help me SSRers, you're my only hope.