Los Angeles Lakers fans, try not to get too attached to any of the prospects who are projected to go right at the beginning of the 2014 NBA draft. Not even Dante Exum, who seems to be the golden boy among large portions of the team's massive fanbase.
Not to generalize for the entire group of supporters, of course.
Nonetheless, general manager Mitch Kupchak has gone on record as saying that he's willing to trade L.A.'s lottery pick, as Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News reported on Twitter:
Is this really surprising?
The Lakers don't build through the draft; they reload through free agency and trades, relying on the appeal of the franchise and the storied history behind the Purple and Gold. That appeal doesn't exactly help during the selection process, though.
If you look back through the Lakers' draft history, you'll find a rather threadbare list of players.
The last time LAL took a first-round player was in 2009, when it drafted Toney Douglas at No. 29 and immediately traded him to the New York Knicks for cash and a future second-round pick. Before that, it was Javaris Crittenton, who was picked at No. 19 in 2007 and traded 22 games into his rookie season.
But this isn't just a first-round pick; it's a lottery selection.
Andrew Bynum was the last player selected by the Lakers in the first 14 picks of an NBA draft, as he was taken at No. 10 in the 2005 proceedings. And before that, Eddie Jones was the 10th pick back in 1994.
Yes, the Lakers went over a decade in between lottery picks. What makes you think they couldn't do it again?
But let's dig deeper still.
Neither Bynum nor Jones was selected with a single-digit pick. Kobe Bryant, for that matter, wasn't either, because he was picked at No. 13 by the Charlotte Hornets and immediately traded to the Lake Show. However, this pick is guaranteed to be somewhere between No. 1 and No. 9, seeing as the Lakers have the sixth-best lottery odds and can be passed by a maximum of three teams, unlikely as that may be.
The last single-digit pick came all the way back in 1982, when the franchise added James Worthy to the mix and sparked quite a few championships.
There's no telling whether Kupchak will let the drought end.
This is such a stacked class that a top pick will have plenty of appeal, though it probably falls short of being able to land a player of Kevin Love's caliber. You can be sure Kupchak will be making that phone call, as will many others.
"The Lakers are a blank slate and the goal is to re-build as quickly as possible," writes Lakers Nation's Corey Hansford. "With Kobe Bryant ready to return next season, the Lakers need to do everything possible to bring in a number of talented players. Moving their draft pick could be the best way to do so."
The Lakers, in many ways, are in a win-win scenario here. They're either going to ensure the foundation of the franchise for the post-Kobe era with a stellar rookie or swing the pick for a current star.
"A high pick is valuable," Kupchak said during an interview with ESPN, via Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times. "You can select a player if there's a player there that you like, or you can look to move the pick and improve your team."
It's hard to complain about either option.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!