Los Angeles Lakers: Kevin Durant And A Potential Huge Summer

May 30, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant (35) reacts during the second quarter in game seven of the Western conference finals of the NBA Playoffs against the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
May 30, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant (35) reacts during the second quarter in game seven of the Western conference finals of the NBA Playoffs against the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports /

Now that Kobe Bryant has retired, the Los Angeles Lakers embark on filling the star role, that Kobe left behind, this summer

The Western Conference Finals has just concluded with the Golden State Warriors becoming the 10th team in the history of the NBA to come back from a 3-1 series deficit and go on to win the series.

In this instance, the Warriors have become the first team to do so in the Western Conference Finals. On the other hand, the Oklahoma City Thunder, who have Kevin Durant‘s pending decision regarding his future, whether in Oklahoma City or elsewhere, are headed into an offseason filled with uncertain decisions that need to be decided soon.

To begin with, Durant has already stated that he hasn’t thought much about the possibility of making himself available come the free agency in July. Nor did he state that he wants to stay with the Thunder, who had arguably the second best season in franchise history after being one win away from returning to the NBA Finals.

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Whether or not he will join in this year’s class of free agents, Durant is already attracting attention from various teams in the league – as expected. One of those teams which are interested in winning Durant’s services is the rebuilding Los Angeles Lakers, who just lost Kobe Bryant to retirement.

We all know that the once-mighty Lakers are now in need of its next superstar with Kobe gone. The Durant-to-the-Lakers scenario is not impossible, although the chances are not yet promising.

Not yet.

To begin with, the Lakers themselves have yet to decide on the future of Jordan Clarkson who is also set to become a free agent. Clarkson has already indicated in one of his previous interviews that he wanted to remain with the Lakers.

Then, the Lakers also hold the No. 2 pick in the upcoming NBA which gives them the opportunity to draft either Ben Simmons or Brandon Ingram. While the Lakers have yet to indicate what they intended to do with whoever they will pick, getting one of the top 2 picks in the Draft might help them increase the chances of luring Durant to come to Hollywood.

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Then, if the Lakers keep the young core of Clarkson, D’Angelo Russell and Julius Randle, that might just might help convince Durant that this Lakers team is the perfect team for him especially considering the mere fact that Luke Walton, an assistant coach to the Warriors, will take over the head coaching duties from recently fired Byronn Scott.

And, most importantly, the Los Angeles Lakers are now free of paying Kobe which enables them to offer a maximum deal to whoever they so choose to pursue.

Now, in the scenario that either Durant decides to stay put in Oklahoma or even sign elsewhere, who should the Lakers sign aside from  Clarkson?

DeMar DeRozan? Pau Gasol? Dwight Howard?

Even LeBron James is, or will be available the moment he decides to leave Cleveland, again. Let’s begin with DeRozan.

He just led the Toronto Raptors to their first trip to the Eastern Conference Finals only to lose against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Unfortunately, even insiders from the Lakers organization are saying that the Lakers aren’t rushing to sign DeRozan precisely because of his tendency to have cold streaks in between games.

Inconsistency in short.

The Lakers have endured their worst season in franchise history due to their inconsistency especially when Kobe wasn’t around. Adding DeRozan might worsen things up for the Lakers.

Pau Gasol on the other hand, won 2 championships with the Lakers in 2009 and 2010. If anything, re-acquiring Pau’s services might help the Lakers in terms of having a legitimate big man in the shaded area to compliment Randle. With due respect to Roy Hibbert, who is also set to become a free agent, Pau has more offense than Hibbert.

Dwight Howard? Nope.

LeBron James? It can definitely happen. It all depends on the outcome of this year’s Finals. In fact, LeBron has already indicated in one interview that he wanted to play alongside Chris Paul and Dwayne Wade…could that happen in Los Angeles?.

He did indicate, too, that he’s willing to slash some bucks from his salary as long as he gets to play with his super friends. Can the Lakers work it out? They certainly have the money now. The problem is: It’s not going to happen anytime soon, that if you’ll believe the King.

Either way, the Lakers will have one of its busiest offseasons in franchise history as they are off to their first season without Kobe Bryant.

must read: Golden State Warriors vs Cleveland Cavaliers: NBA Finals Roundtable

Kevin Durant or not, the Los Angeles Lakers must get a new superstar to ignite its run to return to contention, at least for a playoff spot. Kevin Durant or not, the Lakers need to carefully choose which of the stars available are they going to sign because if they chose the wrong guy, again, they’ll forever be the laughingstock of the NBA.