The Los Angeles Lakers need something to feel good about.
During a season nearly devoid of watching Kobe Bryant, who did at least sign an extension that will keep him around for two more years, not much has gone right. Mike D'Antoni has milked positive contributions from a number of role players, but the overall product is still pretty bad.
The Lakers have fallen nearly all the way to the bottom of the Western Conference, and fans of the historically excellent franchise can't be used to such futility. So let's make them forget about it.
With cap space overflowing from the ledgers during each of the next two offseasons, L.A. has a chance to land a premier player in free agency. There will be a new star in Hollywood, one who can help usher the team into the post-Mamba portion of its history.
But who do the Lakers want? Who are the best choices to do the leading?
There are plenty of players available in 2014 and 2015 (we're not going down the rabbit hole and looking at players who will be available beyond that), but only a few are big enough stars to become a leader of the Purple and Gold.
Age matters. Skill matters. Being established matters.
The Lakers aren't going to go for anything less than the best of the best, after all.
Note: All stats, unless otherwise indicated, are accurate as of Feb. 1 and come from Basketball-Reference.com.