There is a certain moment in “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” before Gene Wilder, who is draped in his iconic purple garb, croons about pure imagination where the camera zooms in on Charlie Bucket’s awestruck face as his eyes gleam at the marvels in front of him that almost perfectly encapsulates Lakers’ fans’ offseason aspirations.
In what has been a monumental summer in the making, the anticipation and excitement has flowed through the veins of Lakers’ fans everywhere—and I for one share the enthusiasm.
What can the Lakers do in free agency that would make you over the moon happy?
In terms of what the team could do in free-agency that would make me happy as someone who has religiously followed them generally falls in line with the rest of Lakers’ fans — get the stars all while holding onto most of the young guys.
While not something the purple and gold have been able to do in recent history, this time feels different. For starters, the team needs to sign Paul George. That in itself is something that simply has to happen with the amount of smoke still lingering in the canyons since last summer’s noise. Once we have George in the fold, next step is adding some royalty in grandest fashion in one—LeBron James. Fresh off a frustrating finals defeat, James is almost certainty taking his talents out of Cleveland once again, and Los Angeles with it’s bountiful cap space and endless In-N-Out drive-thrus will be waiting with welcoming arms. Oh yeah, and there also is some guy named Kawhi Leonard out there who also seems to like Staples Center.
What might they do that makes you super mad online?
Throughout history, NBA teams have sacrificed young talent to obtain star players. Like a ritual of life, it simply is part of the process. And in that realm lies the only thing that can truly make me angry online with this year’s free-agency results: Without assistance from other teams and a level of financial gymnastics that would make Daryl Morey’s head spin, the Lakers will most likely lose at least one of their young core in their star search this summer.
Unfortunately, the most probable candidate in this sense is Julius Randle. Randle, who is coming off a breakout season, is up for a new contract and is assuringly on the lower end of the Lakers’ priority list. Losing a player fans have seen develop in front of their eyes is always difficult, especially one with Randle’s defensive versatility and offensive ferocity. There also remains the possibility that one or both of Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram are shipped off for more established talent like a Kawhi Leonard, or simply as a sweeter to unload the remaining Luol Deng money.
Trading away or losing cost controlled young talent is almost always a short sighted risk, but in their short time in power, this front office has shown they are unafraid of living on the edge.
How likely is it that you are gonna be happy or sad?
In summers past my confidence wavered in the team’s former front office and roster to appeal enough to max-caliber free agents. This time around there is an unmistakable aura surrounding the team, with an exciting young core and a notable new front office that makes me feel more assured Lakers fans will come out of July happy.
The organization will work from a place of power, as without lifting much of a finger they will be able to enter free agency on July 1st with the cap room for two-max players, and a relentless hunger that would put Augustus Gloop to shame.
There is still a chance things will not work out, which would undoubtedly be disappointing, but between the young core and the new sense of optimism, it simply feels like there is reason to hope again in Los Angeles.
- We would be over the moon happy if the Lakers come out of the summer with at least two max caliber free agents.
- We would be mad online if the Lakers traded away their entire young core for short-term improvement.
- We think it’s pretty likely we’re going to happy when July is all wrapped up.