The Los Angeles Lakers are entering what appears to be a tanked season. Despite Kobe Bryant's best wishes, both Dwight Howard and Metta World Peace will not be returning to help the Lakers make another putrid attempt at making the playoffs.
Despite the morbidity of the situation, all hope is not lost. The Lakers have enough financial stability to make major offseason moves that could catapult them back into contention after the conclusion of the upcoming season.
While Laker fans can hold onto that glimmer of hope, they should also temper their expectations.
Although the Lakers have forged an excellent reputation of getting back into contention no matter how hard they get hit, fans should not expect a miracle.
The Lakers' management has proven to be excellent at constructing a roster and moving pieces via trades in order to build contenders.
However, outside of Shaquille O'Neal, fans would be hard-pressed to find a true superstar the Lakers have acquired from free agency in recent history.
To put things into perspective, here are the five worst free agents the Lakers have acquired off of the market.
While Samaki Walker never produced like many analysts expected he would, he was still useful as a big body in the paint.
At 6'9" and 250 pounds, Walker possessed a strong, athletic body that produced seven points and seven rebounds per game during his best season with the Lakers.
Although seven points and seven rebounds per game isn't bad for a glorified role player, he generated those numbers on very inconsistent performances.
He was also a defensive liability given his height disadvantage at the power forward position.
The kicker here is that his seven points and seven rebounds per game were produced during his 24 minutes of playing time per game.
That simply isn't efficient production from a player with the physical attributes he possesses.
Smush Parker was actually not a bad player.
He was quick and strong for a point guard and was capable of taking the ball to the hole when he was on his game.
However, the main knock on Parker was the fact that he was almost never consistently on his game. His inconsistency defined him.
He possessed a superstar's ego with a role player's production level.
His clashes with Kobe Bryant and his issues sharing the starting spot with Jordan Farmar made him more of a distraction than a really positive contributor.
While his good moments really are good, they came too far in between for Laker fans to reflect back fondly on his tenure.
There isn't much to say about Travis Knight.
Playing with the Los Angeles Lakers for three seasons, Knight never distinguished himself in any facet of the game even when given the opportunities.
In the two seasons he averaged more than 14 minutes per game, his totals never eclipsed five points and five rebounds per game.
Knight just did not have the offensive skill, athleticism, defensive instincts and work ethic to carve out any real niche.
His relative uselessness during his tenure with the Lakers, even as a bench player, validates his inclusion on this list.
Slava Medvedenko was an undrafted forward who was unable to really carve out a niche in the NBA.
Averaging five points and two rebounds per game during his career, Medvedenko played six unspectacular seasons with the Lakers.
Medvedenko had no true redeeming qualities in his game.
He could not score nor rebound. He couldn't run the floor nor use his body to beat up other forwards. He didn't even have a good jumper, the hallmark of less proficient rebounding forwards.
In fact, the only time he ever saw over 10 minutes per game on the season was during the 2003-04 season, when incumbent starter Karl Malone went down with an injury.
Dennis Rodman is possibly the most disappointing free-agent signing the Los Angeles Lakers have ever had.
Averaging 11 rebounds per game is no joke. However, Rodman garnered those numbers while also generating four ejections and continuing to show the volatility that made him such a risk for teams throughout his career.
Playing 29 minutes per game during his 23-game stint, Rodman was supposed to form a three-man tandem with Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal.
However, without Phil Jackson to rein in the unpredictable star, his tenure with the Lakers ultimately fizzled out due to behavioral issues.