Hollywood JermaineHOOPSWORD.COM: Early indications are that the Los Angeles Lakers will be making a concerted effort to vastly improve their roster this summer. “I just told [Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak] this summer’s about getting us to an elite level, doing whatever it takes to make it happen,” Kobe Bryant said on Friday. “This is a competitive city. We’re used to winning titles, not just winning games and being in the first round. We want to win championships. Now’s the time.”The operative word Bryant used is “elite” and he went ahead and defined what that word means. “I don’t play for anything but a championship,” he said. “When I re-signed here, they promised that they would build a contender and build a contender now. I don’t want to have to wait anymore than I already have,” he said.

Championship talk is great, but lasting longer in the playoffs than Day Break is probably where this needs to start.

“Obviously there’s a window,” Bryant said. “I feel fine physically. The important thing to me is winning now. It’s not waiting, this, that and the other.”

Keeping that window open is going to require the Lakers to get creative and for ownership to do two things that they’ve been reluctant to do – trade Andrew Bynum and pay a luxury tax.

With Laker fans dreaming of Kevin Garnett or Jermaine O’Neal and with Bryant all but demanding one of them (he does, after all, have the option of leaving as a free agent after two more seasons), people seem to be thinking that a combination of Bryant with one of those low-post stalwarts would immediately put the Lakers in the Western Conference Finals. Looking at the Houston Rockets’ tandem of Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming shows that things aren’t so simple.

The days of two stars taking a team to the pinnacle of basketball seem to be over. Looking at the eight teams remaining the playoffs, all of them are built as solid teams with several options on offense. The Nets have Richard Jefferson, Jason Kidd, and Vince Carter. Detroit can throw Chauncey Billups, Rip Hamilton, and Rasheed Wallace at you. The Spurs roll with Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker, and Tim Duncan. The Suns cast includes Shawn Marion, Steve Nash, and Amare Stoudemire.

Success in the NBA means having great pocket cards and a complimentary flop, two stars with a group of very good players around them.

In order for the Lakers to join those ranks, to be a championship-contending squad, they need Lamar Odom.

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  • Arthur

    First of all I love this blog and of course idea of getting The Big Ticket – KG!

    But Mitch should also try to get Marcus Banks.
    Yeah, same Banks who was in many talks leas year.
    Give Cook for Banks and deal done. Next season starts Cook’s 3-year, 10 million contract and salaries would match. Suns would do it because Cook would fit into their uptempo basketball and they don’t need Banks.

  • http://twitter.com/nugge7 The Nugget

    [quote comment="5"]First of all I love this blog and of course idea of getting The Big Ticket – KG!

    But Mitch should also try to get Marcus Banks.
    Yeah, same Banks who was in many talks leas year.
    Give Cook for Banks and deal done. Next season starts Cook’s 3-year, 10 million contract and salaries would match. Suns would do it because Cook would fit into their uptempo basketball and they don’t need Banks.[/quote]
    Think big then will think small but thanks for the feedmback, man! :-)

  • LakerFanforLife

    Garnett would be a great aquisition, but thats not enough to win a title, Lakers I hope are trying to become a dynasty again. We need Ron Artest. Keep Lamar of course Kobe, those trio equals a three headed monster. Those 3 players have heart and toughness and are great defenders. Please Laker Fans dont give up on Lamar, he wants to be Laker and I believe next season, God willing no injuries occur he will be an all-star, he should have been one this season if not the multiple injuries that occured. Odom showed me alot during the playoffs and I believe that will carry onto the next season x 2. These 3 players along with Luke and a vet. point gaurd, another vet. forward who is smart enough to comprehend the triangle offense. Remember Like Horry said its just basketball (referring to the offense), we need savvy, inteligent vets. We could have beat phoenix, if we were healthy @ least we did not get swept! Like Miami. So dont give up hope, we have the greateast basketball player of all time as our asset. Managemant needs to steal a page out of spurs and pistons way of aquiring talent without trying to be the Yankees. Because overall superb team will equal several dynasties to come, not just a 1-2 punch combo.

  • Ezell

    I’ve been a Laker fan all of my life, I am from LA. I’m tired of hearing about the damn salary cap. Look every home and road game is sold out, Kobe jersey #1, always on primetime. To put it short the Lakers organization has plenty of money coming in. We tried not going over the salary cap, it worked for years. Now its time to scrap that plan and do what it takes to get back into contention before we really make a mockery of the #1 franchise in the NBA, and arguably the #1 sports team ever. You would never hear the Yankee’s talk about not going over the salary cap and fielding a team they know has no chance at winning the whole thing. I can’t believe the last couple of years that the Lakers have actually had the nerve to put that team on the floor and charge us the prices they have. Smush Parker, swell guy but the worst point guard ever to wear a Lakers uniform. We have 3 untouchables Bryant, Odom, Ronny, and if we needed a fourth one it would be Farmar (Luke would be a great 6th man). Everyone else is expendable and not now but right now they are available. I’m starting to feel like KG, being loyal to a fault to the Lakers. Not only Kobe but we want changes and we wont them now. Or if you are to scared Buss to go over the damn salary cap then sell the team to someone who will do what it takes to keep our team top tier. Anything else is totally unexceptable, point blank……Get rid of yes man Mitch (he sucks), the worst GM on the planet in any sport. We need West back or how about Magic as the GM, someone with a high Basketball IQ. I remember Mitch playing for the Lakers and he wasn’t much of a player (Hard nosed though), and no one respects him as a GM which is why we never win over Vets like (Weber, Kidd, etc….) We need a GM that commands respect and will even battle with upper management when things are in need of change.

    Regards,

    A pissed off LA fan

  • http://twitter.com/nugge7 The Nugget

    I believe you can go over the salary cap only in the MLB but you’ll need to pay taxes. It’s different in the NBA. Correct me if am wrong, please.

  • Big_Ezell

    The Knicks salary is $140 million and the cap is what $60 million??? I could be wrong but I do believe its something like that. The Trailblazers use to go over the salary cap like it was nothing back when they had Wallace and O’Neal and everyone else. You can go over the cap but its a dollar for dollar luxury tax you will face. The lakers were over the salary cap this season and we are projected to be over the cap for next year the way we are presently constructed. So there are ways to be over the cap if necessary. I don’t believe in over spending either, that killed Portland and has the Knicks in a bad place also. We need smart business moves, point blank…..

    E

  • Justin Young

    The info I read on hoopshype.com is that Jermaine O’neal can opt out of his contract after this season. If he is serious about joining LAL he can opt of his contract and ask Indiana to work a sign and trade deal with LAL. He could then settle for a salary that is significantly lower than the $19M but with a longer time period. This will give LAL more cap flexibility.