Last week I released a series of poll questions about this off-season for the Los Angeles Lakers. I asked you, the Laker Nation, to answer them and I’d analyze those answers in the coming week. Well you guys all answered and this article will detail all the possible scenarios from the most popular answers to each poll question. So here we go! If you’d like to take a quick look back at all the questions, here’s the link to the article - http://lakernation.com/offseason-poll-questions/
Question 1: Would you like to see the Lakers re-sign Dwight Howard? 843 Total Votes
The majority of you said yes, you would like to see him re-signed with 609 “Yes” votes to 234 ”No” votes.
What does this mean? Well unfortunately, it isn’t up to Laker management at this point as the ball is in Dwight’s court (No pun intended). The majority of you would like to see him stay with the purple and gold with a 5 year max contract. The Lakers can offer Dwight that extra year and 30 million dollars more than any other of the teams vying for his signature. However, no one except Dwight knows for sure if that is enough to make him want to stay. Rumors say he can’t stand D’Antoni and that’s a huge factor in making his ultimate decision. Houston is looking like a viable option for him at this point, and recent news is saying he and Chris Paul are attempting to team up together on one team.. Only time will tell whether Dwight will re-sign with LA or another ball club, and July 1st is the date in which the fire storm hits its climax.
Question 2: Should Chris Paul decide to leave the Clippers, would you want him to sign with the Lakers? 848 Total Votes
The majority of you also said yes you would like to see him sign with the opposite locker room this season and leave the Clippers with 787 “Yes” votes against 61 “No” votes. Many of you are probably thinking “Of course, who wouldn’t want to see Chris Paul in a Lakers’ jersey?” Well, there are some issues with him signing
here. First off, Chris would have to “want” to sign with the Lakers, and at this point, I’m not sure why he would. His Clippers finished with the best record in their franchise history and took the Pacific division crown this season while the Lakers barely made the playoffs. He, like any other NBA player, wants to win a championship sooner rather than later, and by first glance the Clippers seem to be in the better position.
Another thing is that by signing Chris Paul the Lakers would not be signing Dwight Howard, basically they are both too expensive and the Lakers are already well over the salary cap. So it’s a choice between a dominant center in Dwight Howard, or one of the most crafty, skilled point guards in Paul. There is also the problem of having Steve Nash still under contract for 2 more seasons; 9 million dollars coming off the bench isn’t the smartest use of money. The Lakers would more than likely have to trade Nash just a year after trading their draft picks for him, and he won’t be necessarily easy to trade given his age and decreased level of effectiveness shown from this previous season. It’d be a great upgrade at the point guard position for the Lakera with a player like Paul, leading the offense and keeping up with the young point guards that dominate the league, but the chances are low and he’ll likely re-sign with the Clippers.
Question 3: Should the Lakers trade up in the draft for a better pick? 796 Total Votes
This was a lot closer in votes than the previous two poll questions coming in with 438 “Yes” votes and 358 “No” votes. Seeing as this goes hand in hand with the following question, I’ll combine the two here.
Question 4: Who would you like to see traded for the pick? 742 Total Votes
The number one person on the roster that you would like to see traded for a pick was Metta World Peace coming in with 220 votes. Jodie Meeks came in second place with 155 votes, and third place was Pau Gasol with 138 . While getting rid of Metta may be a good option as his contract is rather pricey for the player the
Lakers are getting, he’s just not worth that much to trade away for a decent pick.
Meeks is in the same boat as Metta, although he’s younger and a better shooter so he might warrant a slightly better pick. Pau Gasol coming in at third however may be the most viable and prime option for a good pick. Pau has a very expensive price tag though as he totes a 19 million dollar salary. Trading him would likely get the Lakers a decent pick in the first round somewhere, but most teams would have to offer the Lakers at least one other player to accomodate his large salary. Trading one of your players with a first round pick for Pau Gasol isn’t a trade teams are going to want to make, Pau just isn’t worth that much any more as his numbers have been in steady decline the past couple seasons.
However, recent news has surfaced that the Lakers are interested in Peyton Siva, the explosive guard out of the NCAA Champion Louisville Cardinals. Siva is projected to go late in the second round, which is completely feasible for the Lakers to trade up for. Trading for a late second round pick isn’t too difficult for Lakers management to pull off, and they wouldn’t necessarily have to give up one of their starting five either. Do you guys like the idea of drafting Peyton Siva? Let me know your thoughts!
Question 5: Of these free agents, who would you like to see the Lakers sign? 810 Total Votes
This one was a flat out victory by J.R. Smith receiving 526 total votes, second place sits Nikola Pekovic, the Minnesota big man, with 132 votes, and in third we have Anthony Morrow with 88 votes. Here’s the thing, as great as it would be for the Lakers to sign a player like J.R. Smith, he’s probably going to be too expensive for them. He’s coming off a $2.8 million dollar salary with New York, and he has a player option in his contract for this upcoming season of which he is likely to opt out of. Smith has earned himself the sixth man of the year award this past season and because of that he can leave New York and ask for
more money elsewhere. Another possibility is that New York signs him to a new bigger contract, but regardless Smith is looking for a bigger contract and with Los Angeles already well over the cap a signing isn’t likely.
Nikola Pekovic would be somone to look at if Dwight Howard chooses to sign elsewhere. He could hold down the paint, and eventually become a strong, dominant center in the NBA as a member of the Lakers organization. We’ll see if Lakers management looks his way should Dwight choose to leave LA.
Then there’s Anthony Morrow, a close friend of Dwight Howard’s and a pretty good shooter. Morrow’s early years were his best shooting wise and if were to return to that form he’d be a great asset for the shooter deprived Lakers. Not that this would necessarily keep Dwight in LA but having a close friend work along side yourself makes you want to stay put more than if Morrow weren’t there.
Question 6: What would you like to see done with Coach Mike D’Antoni? 836 Total Votes
This was the most one sided poll question yet, and expectantly so. Nearly all of you voted that D’Antoni be fired with 736 votes, and here’s why you’re 100% correct. Not that this is anything
new, but D’Antoni has a different agenda for the Lakers then they are currently built for. He wants a quick, run-n-gun style offense, and the Lakers, being the oldest team in the NBA this past season, couldn’t quite keep up as well as he’d hoped. He was adamant about sticking to his guns, and it wasn’t until the end of the season that things began to click and he decided to use Pau Gasol closer to the basket where he thrives.
Should Dwight Howard choose to re-sign, D’Antoni needs to go. He doesn’t know how to fully utilize two big men out on the floor and maximize their potential. He’s not a bad coach by any means, he just doesn’t fit as the missing puzzle piece the Lakers have been searching for since Jackson left. He did well in Phoenix when Steve Nash was there, and that’s why Laker management felt he would thrive with Nash again. It’s unfortunate if he is to be retained because it will only be to the Lakers’ detriment. Dwight may also be basing his decision on whether D’Antoni is retained or not, and right now it doesn’t look like Laker management has any plans of getting rid of him.
Question 7: What coach would you rather see if the Lakers are to fire D’Antoni? 837 Total Votes
Since I put the zen master himself as an answer to this question I expected him to get the most votes, and he did with 531 votes. However in second place came the former Lakers assistant coach Brian Shaw with 219 votes, currently with the Indiana Pacers. Now since it is unlikely that Lakers management removes D’Antonifrom his head coaching seat these are merely dreams of hope that the Lakers would hire one of these guys. Phil Jackson would obviously be the best choice as he has proven his success with the Lakers before.
Unfortunately he has said he has no plans on ever returning to coaching and the Lakers last chance to ink the 11 time champion was when they flirted with him
after Mike Brown’s firing. Shaw is also in talks with multiple teams regarding their head coaching vacancies, most notably the Clippers. The Lakers are likely to see out Mike D’Antoni’s current contract because they already owe Mike Brown some money from his early termination and they don’t want to look like they don’t know what they’re doing (Even though it appears Jim Buss doesn’t). Perhaps D’Antoni has a different game plan for this season, perhaps he wants to use Pau and hopefully Dwight together effectively, and perhaps the Lakers have a great season, perhaps.
Question 8: Who should the Lakers amnesty this season? 823 Total Votes
This was my favorite question based on the answers to it that I really didn’t expect. In first place came Metta World Peace with 342 votes, which isn’t a huge surprise due to his dwindling performance this past season. Amnestying him wouldn’t be a terrible option as Peace is likely going to opt into the final year of his contract and he’s due 7.7 million dollars, more than he could get anywhere else at this point in his career. However I expected you guys to want to amnesty Pau Gasol
because he’s due 19 million, which is a HUGE hindrance to the salary cap room the Lakers have. Pau actually came in last place with just 65 votes.
Second place went to not amnestying anyone this season with 319 votes. This was in first place for quite some time until Metta World Peace came in and swooped it, probably because of the way Metta has been tweeting recently. If you don’t know Metta’s tweets I suggest you follow him, he’s quite the character. I think not using it this season is actually a smart idea because each ball club can only exercise it once between now and the 2015-16 season. So waiting to see if there is a better chance to use it is a safe and careful plan, which is something the Lakers need at this point in time.
Kobe Bryant was next on the list with 97 votes, now before some of you guys start freaking out over such a ridiculous thought, just think about it. Bryant is coming off of
a very serious Achilles tendon tear, one which could alter his playing style for the rest of his career. Here’s what Lakers management can do, they could amnesty Bryant, who could potentially miss a large portion of this current season, and then offer him a contract when he is healthy again, hoping he wouldn’t sign any where else in the meantime. This would alleviate 30 million dollars on the Lakers books and give them a lot of great options going into this upcoming season. The hard part is amnestying the player who has brought the city 5 more championships and has only ever donned a purple and gold uniform, oh and hoping he doesn’t get bitter about it and sign else where. Essentially what the Lakers would be doing is dropping the final year of Bryant’s contract, wait until he is fully healthy, then re-sign him to a much cheaper deal, likely in the 17-19 million range. This option really has a lot of potential to it, but it also is a huge risk that I’m not sure Lakers management would be willing to take. My guess would be that the Lakers choose not to exercise their amnesty clause this season and they’ll wait for a better opportunity.
Question 9: Will Kobe Bryant be the same player when he returns from his Achilles tendon tear? 828 Total Votes
No one can really know the answer to this question unless you’re Kobe Bryant himself. We all have watched Bryant play his heart out every night and know first hand that his work ethic is second to none. That being said, we can all assu
me Bryant will come back sooner rather than later and playing at the same level he’s shown us all these past 17 seasons. 351 of you felt he’ll be the same player when he returns, 239 said he wouldn’t be, and 238 said he’d be even better than before. Again, it really is a toss up, and none of us can truly know how Kobe will bounce back after such a detrimentalinjury, but we can make educated guesses based on his history.
That’s it for the poll questions everyone, thanks so much for participating and here’s to a successful off-season for the Los Angeles Lakers! Any questions, comments, or concerns, contact me on Twitter, @GarrettGarcia