First thing you do is sell high on Jordan Hill before he has so many bad games you'll have to settle for a 2nd round pick for him, you make Davis your starting 5 and when Kelly is ready you move him to your starting 4 and you keep Black and Boozer off the bench. OR you move Boozer back to the starting lineup and make Kelly your backup 4 and Black your backup 5.
You also move Sacre for a late 2nd round pick if you get the chance. See also what you can get for Nash's contract.
Play the rest of this season out and embrace Kobe's style adaptation, continue adapting the team style around the ball movement and make it your team's identity going forward.
Let the season play out and try to remain as healthy as possible and finish the season healthy and let the picks fall where they may.
Considering Detroit's emergence and the fact that this Lakers team as stands is good to be consistently competitive but still needing that extra push to get over the hump, the bottom 5 teams in the NBA could wind up being the 76ers, the Knicks, the Timberwolves, the Lakers and Utah. Although Boston is probably there too.
Anyway, should the Lakers land a top 5 pick I don't think it would be number 1 or even 2.
So we're looking at 3-5 range most likely. 3-6 depending on other circumstances. If it falls into the top 5 or is within the range of 3-5 draft Stanley Johnson.
Now the 2nd first round pick, which belongs to Houston is a very determining factor. if Houston falls to the 8th seed that pick falls to 20th for us.
Leaving us in range of the likes of Caris LeVert and Delon Wright(who is rising immensely and may wind up going top 10 or in Elfrid Payton territory.
Above all else I want our pick ahead of the Spurs and I'd like us to draft Caris LeVert with it.
There's your future 2 and 3 to pair with Julius Randle at the 4.
Re-sign Ed Davis, extend Tarik Black, keep Ryan Kelly. See if you can re-sign Lin.
Do your due dilligence to test the free agency waters, ask Marc Gasol(who will likely decline), make a call to Rondo, stuff like that.
Once those two ventures fail, go all in on Brandon Knight and offer him 13-15 mill. If the Bucks match that, then oh well, you tried.
Go after Reggie Jackson "if" he's available still, and you can probably land him for a little less, the question is if you think he's worth it.
Anyway that is the bulk of your off-season moves, you can bring back Wes or Ellington if you wanted to but you mostly are done as far as off-season goes.
Your roster and starting lineup for last year is hopefully as follows
Jeremy Lin / Jordan Clarkson
Nick Young / Caris LeVert
Wesley Johnson(or Wayne Ellington)
Ryan Kelly / 2nd round pick
Tarik Black /2nd round pick
There's a 14 man roster, you can have a 15th spot if you find a gem in training camp or what have you. But that's generally your roster going into next season.
That's not bad at all, it is building to something at least.
Anyway, your next off-season is the Durant off-season with the cap jump where you'll go all in on Durant and try to convince him to come to the Lakers.
The solid part of this is that if Durant says yes, Kobe likely returns and considering everything else and the rookies getting the year under their belt(including Randle) then this potentially puts the Lakers in a good position moving forward. If Durant says no, then it just becomes an extension of the previous year where you hopefully make the playoffs or make a few other moves at the deadline and see what you land. Worst case scenario is Durant says no and Kobe retires.
At that point the season becomes about the development of LeVert, Johnson and Randle and you're prepping for the next off-season to run at Anthony Davis if he denies his extension.
The season then becomes about watching the young team and seeing what damage they could do in their 2nd years and how they've grown and how far Brandon Knight can take them all as he'd have the mot experience. They are a "phoenix suns" like team in terms of potential and MAYBE knocking at the 9th seeds door, or if anything they could sneak in over a team like the Suns or the Pelicans.
Making the playoffs would likely be the best case scenario for that season, especially if the Pelicans miss, it increases your pitch to a guy like Anthony Davis who sees a bunch of young talent starting to come into it's own in their 3rd year, with a lot of cap space as it's under rookie contracts and with enough money to pay him the max, as well as a young point guard in Brandon Knight just hitting his prime, 4th year Julius Randle, and a 3rd year Stanley Johnson and a 3rd year Caris LeVert. If they all are coming into their own then it may be an enticing team for Davis to join and see what they can do with.
IF all goes according to plan(and perfect scenario) your starting lineup for the 2017-2018 Los Angeles Lakers would be as follows.
(hopefully another 2nd rounder that panned out)
and maybe Ryan Kelly would be in it as well.
Anyway, that team not only makes the playoffs that team is a team on the ups, along with the also coming into their own Minnesota Timberwolves.
And look at that matchup on paper and tell me it wouldn't be one of the most exciting games of the season
Lakers vs Timberwolves
Brandon Knight / Ricky Rubio
Caris LeVert / Zach LaVine
Stanley Johnson / Andrew Wiggins
Julius Randle / Anthony Bennett or Young or someone else they drafted(maybe Towns or Winslow)
Anthony Davis / Gorgui Dieng
Fantastic matchup imo.
Anyway that's probably how I'd be rebuilding the Lakers. But my first step would be doing anything necessary (without being robbed of talent) to come out of the draft with both Caris LeVert and Stanley Johnson that doesn't upset the rest of the plans stated above.
Perhaps you can land something with trading away Jordan Hill along with filler such as Sacre and/or potentially Ellington(although I personally want him to finish his season as a Laker and playing for his father).
Your rebuilding strategy is based on:
1. getting a top 5 pick, despite trying to win as many games as possible.
2. Caris Lavert falling a lot lower than currently projected.
3. Anthony Davis signing in LA.
I'd say that is more than just a long shot.
IMO this is the strategy:
Version 1: getting the top 5 pick.
1. Have a fire-sale right now. Lin, Hill, Ellington and maybe even Davis should be moved for young players on rookie deals or picks. For the right price, i'd move Swaggy as well. I wouldn't mind keeping some of the guys around, like Davis, but considering the fact that they may be gone this summer anyway, i'd rather cash in now if possible.
2. That will probably assure the top 5 (although nothing is certain) as well as a top 31-35 pick.
The reason why this is so important is because we need young talent and because depending on what happens in the summer, we may not be able to get the same type of talent in the draft next summer.
3. Draft the best available players with the top5, Houston-pick and 31-35pick. Those three picks could land us Myles Turner, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Dakari Johnson or, if we're lucky, Karl Towns, Kelly Oubre and Justin Anderson.
4. In the summer, we do our due dilligence on the big names, such as Hibbert, Marc Gasol, Asik, Jimmy Butler, Dragic and Kawhi Leonard, which all will be matched (probably). When that happens, we offer Parsons-esque deals to KJ McDaniels, Patrick Beverly, Iman Shumpert, Tobias Harris, Brandon Knight etc. Hopefully we end up with 1-2 players after which we try to fill out our roster with veterans and min. contracts (like last season).
The homerun would be Kawhi Leonard and Dragic or Hibbert and KJ McDaniels but in the real world, perhaps we could get Brandon Knight and Arron Afflalo.
In other words, it's not unrealistc to draft: Myles Turner, Hollis-Jefferson and Dakari Johnson and it isn't unrealistic to sign Brandon Knight and Afflalo, which would look like this:
Brandon Knight / Jordan Clarkson
Kobe Bryant / Arron Afflalo
Hollis-Jefferson / Nick Young
Julius Randle / Ryan Kelly
Myles Turner / Dakari Johnson / Tariq Black.
...plus whatever Lin, Davis, etc. can land us.
If this isn't an ideal situaion for Westbrook, Durant and Anthony Davis in a couple of years, i dont know what is.
Version 2: minus top 5 pick.
Basically the same as above, but Phoenix get lucky and we dont get the top 5.
In that case, i'd draft based on upside only and i wont go after any veterans (like Afflalo).
Perhaps i'd try to package up a few picks and move up in the draft and i'd accept another season of being horrible (2015/16) - but with the pick.