Yes, because doing so would improve their odds of landing a superstar somehow. Much has been made of who could be available via free agency in 2014 (e.g. LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Paul George, John Wall, etc.). Tanking this season would probably hurt the Lakers' chances of luring a big name to L.A. to take up some of the prodigious cap space they're expected to have.
But I have my doubts as to whether any of those superstar talents will actually be available. The 2003 draftees can opt out, but I can't imagine Miami's Big Three parting ways after a three-peat, or 'Melo leaving the playoff-potent Knicks for a rebuild in LA...or the Pacers and Wizards not locking up their youngsters to long-term extensions, for that matter.
But if the Lakers "try" to stink (which they will anyway), they'll have a shot at landing one of a handful of future superstars set to join the draft pool in 2014 (Andrew Wiggins? Jabari Parker? Julius Randle? Marcus Smart? Andrew Harrison? Dante Exum? Aaron Gordon?), who they can then introduce alongside a healthy Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash and (perhaps) Pau Gasol.
Which, ultimately, could make the Purple and Gold that much more appealing come July of 2014 and beyond.
They may have no other choice. With the amnesty of Metta World Peace, there is absolutely no proof that they can succeed with Kobe Bryant coming off a torn Achilles, Steve Nash turning 40 years old or a declining Pau Gasol.
It’s not as if a team with Bryant is going to quit trying, though. The Lakers will likely end up just missing the playoffs and with a lottery pick too low to snag any of the future big names.
A quick rebuild will require free-agent help, and unlike Josh Martin, I firmly believe Bryant and the Lakers will convince one of the league’s current superstars to carry the Lakers’ torch in 2014-15.
I'm not saying the Lakers should tank, but it wouldn't be a bad idea to play the 2013-14 season blindfolded.
This team isn't going anywhere this year unless the goal is to reach the playoffs. But that can't be the goal. The only goal for the Lakers should be to finish the year in position to pounce on 2014 free agents.
Create space and contend for the lottery. There's just no point in wasting a year battling for the No. 8 seed. Swallow your pride, Laker fans. It's only a year. I'm a Knicks fan; I did it for 10.