Special thanks to Luke Tarsitano for writing this take and giving us the privilege to add it to TheLakersNation.com. Again, if you guys see anything Lakers related that you think deserves to be put up, just e-mail us at articles@TheLakersNation.com.
This off-season has been less than glorious for the Lakers and their fans, aside from re-siging Luke Walton and Chris Mihm, our front office has done nothing. Derek Fisher’s return was a gift that fell into our laps and doesn’t count as real front office activity as far as I’m concerned.
With the hopes of trading for a savoir in Garnett dashed by our eternal rivals, the Lakers are two months away from returning to mediocrity. This is an unacceptable proposition for the fans and, more importantly, Kobe.
We Laker fans expect excellence and deserve nothing less for our ever-lasting loyalty.
Though it seems like Mitch Kupchak and his cohorts have been asleep at the wheel since Kobe made his trade demands, it is true that with Garnett in green, the Lakers off-season options are very limited. Just when all hope seemed to be lost, and another first round playoff exit seemed likely, reports of Jermaine O’Neal wanting to be a Laker emerged. Of course, as soon as they were reported Jermaine announced he was misquoted.
Many have tried to make sense of what actually transpired, myself included. Whatever was really said, it seems impossible that Jermaine could have been misquoted entirely. Whatever he tried to say after,at first, he was undeniably open to the idea of becoming a Laker. It’s not like he was lying to reporters was he?
After the story broke, I immediatley began thinking of possible trade scenarios that got us O’Neal without giving up Odom. The ideal trade that I feel Indiana is most likely to go for is Bynum, Radmanavic, Kwame, Indiana’s choice of Farmar or Crittenton, at least one of next year’s picks, and a cash incentive for Jermaine O’Neal. However, analysts now say Larry Bird isn’t going to trade Jermaine at all right now.
This should signify the end of Laker fan’s hopes of greatly improving the roster this off-season.
I have thought a lot about this trying to see a solution and I am now going to share with you the only option I see left that could land us Jermaine. Kobe and Jermaine have a good relationship. The answer is Kobe needs to call Jermaine or meet with him in person and convince him to press for a trade to the Lakers. The only way Jermaine will be a Laker by training camp is if he openly demands a trade.
This is a hypothetical message of what I feel Kobe should tell Jermaine:
“JO, we’re at similar points in our careers where our window of dominance is getting smaller. I know how you feel in Indiana, as my current situation with the Lakers is exactly the same. I know how frustrated you are. I also know you love Los Angeles. I’m calling you to ask you to demand a trade to the Lakers. If we come together we will be unstoppable. The Lakers now have the supporting cast needed to contend for a title if you come here. The fans here are incredibly loyal and there’s no better location in the world to play than Southern California. I know you’re loyal to the Pacers and their fans, but at this point in your basketball life, if you want to win titles, it’s now or never, and Indiana can no longer help you get there. Join me and secure your legacy as a great player in this league. Its the only way.”
Though, it seems like a longshot, if O’Neal does demand a trade it will force Bird into accepting an offer that’s less than what he wanted, hopefully allowing us to keep Lamar.
You all might say this is grasping at straws, and maybe it is, but this is the only solution left that I feel is plausible. Let’s hope Kobe will take a more active role in Laker affairs before the start of the season.
Otherwise, have fun watching another early playoff exit.