After Losing out on Three-Peat, Where Do the Los Angeles Lakers Go from Here?

Robert C BinyonContributor IIMay 20, 2011

How many more title runs does Kobe have left?
How many more title runs does Kobe have left?Harry How/Getty Images

The first thing that needs to be addressed this off-season is the Lakers need for a head coach. The front office needs to decide if they're going to stick with the triangle offense, or whether they're going to go in a new direction. If they're sticking with the triangle, then Brian Shaw is the logical choice, and if they're looking at switching things up, Jerry Sloan or Rick Adelman seem to be the logical choices.

As far as what they need to do with the people they are putting on the court, their top need in my eyes is a shooting weapon off the bench. I tried as hard as I could to defend the bench this season, but after Lamar Odom, there really isn't much there. Shannon Brown is good for a highlight reel play or two a week, Matt Barnes was on and off the injured reserve and Steve Blake didn't produce the way many thought he would. Bringing in a guy who can shoot well will bring in some automatic offense to a once stagnant bench, and will also give the post players more room to work with down low.

As soon as the magical run to three in a row ended, the trade rumors started to surface. The best way to cope with the disappointing defeat was to start throwing around big names. For those who think that the Lakers are going to be able to trade Pau Gasol and pieces away for Chris Paul, please wake up. I would be very, very surprised if this deal ever even gets talked about with New Orleans. As far as the Andrew Bynum to Orlando for Dwight Howard rumors, these rumors hold weight, but if Bynum isn't shipped out for Dwight, he needs to stay in Los Angeles. As I've said in other articles, I'm not even sold on Dwight being the better long term option, but at least with him you know what you're going to get. Bynum's future production is a mystery, as he could either develop into the best center in the league, or he can continue to be an injury liability. 

Unfortunately for Los Angeles, both Shannon Brown and Matt Barnes have player options that could allow them to leave this off-season. On the positive side of things, neither player's stock is all that high. Barnes was bothered by injuries all year, and Brown, after starting out the year like a possible most improved candidate, slowly digressed as the year went on.

In order to bring in any new blood this off-season, the Lakers are going to have to make trades and use their mid level exception wisely (assuming it exists under the new CBA). I wouldn't be surprised to see a member or two of the "core" go this summer. Without including one of them, any real changes are going to be tough to make.