5 Factors Mitch Kupchak Must Weigh for Los Angeles Lakers During Free Agency
The last few days have certainly been eventful for the Lakers. Thursday night, the team thought it had acquired Chris Paul from the New Orleans before the league vetoed the trade. Saturday night, after talks of acquiring Paul had officially died, the team traded Lamar Odom to the Dallas Mavericks for the Mavs' first-round draft pick in 2012.
The trade of Odom could be the beginning of a series of moves the team could make before opening its season against the Chicago Bulls on Christmas Day.
But whether the team plans on making a big splash this free-agency period and attempts to land one of the league’s marquee stars or plans on surrounding Kobe Bryant and co. with cheaper, lesser-known players, there are plenty of factors for Kupchak to take into consideration.
5. Kobe Bryant's Lack of Support on the Perimeter
Given Kobe Bryant’s age and laundry list of nagging injuries the last few seasons, the team needs to provide another perimeter player to alleviate some of the scoring burden on Kobe’s shoulders.
Unless, of course, the team still thinks Metta World Peace or Derek Fisher has what it takes to be a formidable perimeter sidekick...
4. Do the Los Angeles Lakers Need to Swing for the Fences?
It's definitely exciting thinking about the Los Angeles Lakers landing one of the league’s superstars during the current free-agency period.
But as nice as it would be to have the likes of Dwight Howard wearing purple and gold, would it be smarter for the team to keep the majority its current core and find less sexy, cheaper players to help fill its current voids?
3. Find a Replacement for Lamar Odom
It was announced late Saturday night that Lamar Odom had been traded to the Dallas Mavericks. While I am sure there will be more transactions completed before the team plays its first game, the Lakers are currently without a reliable bench player.
Outside of Odom’s contributions last season, which were good enough to earn him the Sixth Man of the Year Award, the team’s bench play was miserable.
No matter who the team gets to replace Odom as its sixth man, he will be hard pressed to match what Odom has contributed the last few seasons.
2. The Future Without Kobe Bryant
Sooner than later, Kobe Bryant will be sitting at home enjoying his retirement, which means the team will need to find a player who will become the new face of the franchise after Kobe hangs up his sneakers.
If the team does indeed end up with a super-duper star in the near future, one of the major benefits would not only be the short-term satisfaction, but also the accomplishment of having found Kobe’s “replacement.”
1. The Health of Andrew Bynum
If the team is indeed willing to trade Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol before Andrew Bynum, which was going to be the case last week before the league vetoed the Lakers’ attempt at acquiring Chris Paul, the team must have full confidence he is through with the injury bug that has thus far plagued the first part of his career.
Dealing Odom and Gasol weakens the team’s frontcourt with Bynum at full strength. Given Bynum’s health history, it may prove to be a colossal mistake trading Gasol and Odom during this free-agency period, even if it means getting a superstar in return.