Let’s face it; Even if L.A. had three-peated this past season, they still would have needed to re-bolster..."/> Let’s face it; Even if L.A. had three-peated this past season, they still would have needed to re-bolster..."/>

Lakers Have a New Coach, But What About New Players?


Let’s face it; Even if L.A. had three-peated this past season, they still would have needed to re-bolster the team this offseason in order to compete with squads like the Mavs, Thunder, and Heat. The average age of the Lakers’ starting five last year was roughly 31 years, with Kobe being the 2nd oldest at age 32. Young superstars like Derrick Rose and Kevin Durant, both 22, have proved they can lead their respective teams into contention for titles and will only get better with age. Luckily for L.A., their Fountain of Youth will arrive in the summer of 2012 when two of the league’s biggest stars will become unrestricted free agents.

It’s no secret that NBA All-Star and three-time Defensive Player of the Year Dwight Howard loves the media and spotlight and what better city than Los Angeles to accommodate him? At 25-years-old and averaging 23 points and 14 rebounds last season, he is undeniably the best center in the NBA to continue the tradition of great Laker big men hanging banners, filming movies, and celebrating at championship parades. With his aforementioned accolades and a trip to the NBA Finals under his belt already, Howard knows his resume won’t be complete without a ring. If Dwight wants to make the best choice for his basketball career, he should follow in the footsteps of the other center that came from O-Town and played for the purple and gold.

If ‘Operation D-12’ isn’t a success, it leaves the Lakers with one more franchise player on the table in New Jersey Nets point guard Deron Williams. With Derek Fisher increasing in age and no reliable one guard off the bench, the Lakers need a floor-general. A pure shooter and playmaker who averaged 21 points and 10 assists playing for the Utah Jazz and Nets last season, Williams is a cornerstone piece for whatever organization he decides to play with in 2012. At 27, he is arguably the game’s best point guard who can be a champion with the right pieces around him. With multiple teams likely to entice him and the Nets’ relocation plans to Brooklyn, D-Will has a plethora of options to choose from come next summer.

It isn’t the end of the world if Los Angeles doesn’t get their next big superstar in next summer’s free agency period. Though they can’t be signed right now due to the lockout, there are still quality players that would improve the Lakers. Jamal Crawford, Tayshaun Prince, T.J. Ford and Shane Battier are just some of the names that could be great additions to the team. As long as Kobe and Pau continue to play as an elite duo, the Lakers will be in contention for the title regardless of who takes their talents where.

The Los Angeles Lakers continued to make moves this offseason with the hiring of Ettore Messina. Messina is the former coach of Spanish League club team Real Madrid and will be assisting the Lakers as a coaching consultant. The two-time Euroleague Coach of the Year has won the Euroleague championship four times and was named to the Euroleague’s 10 Greatest All-Time Coaches list. Before he coached in the Spanish League, the future Hall of Fame coach served for fifteen years in the Italian League. Messina’s basketball IQ and connections to the Spanish and Italian league should allow for an easy transition in his relationships with Pau and Kobe as well.