Remember when the Los Angeles Lakers became a national embarrassment last offseason after giving a terrible free agency pitch to LaMarcus Aldridge? That’s when Kobe Bryant basically said, “Kid, you want to be a star?” That was the extent of the presentation for two hours.
Well, the Lakers might have just topped that.
According to a feature piece from Kevin Ding of Bleacher Report, VP of basketball operations Jim Buss once believed his team could acquire both LeBron James and Kevin Durant through free agency, which obviously is nothing short of a pipe dream.
Some believe Jim was so blatantly confident because he figured LeBron James was coming to the Lakers as a free agent that summer .
Indeed, his father had shot for the stars often and hit. So why wouldn't it happen again?
So Jim told people that Carmelo Anthony was coming the next summer. He told people that Howard was staying the previous year.
He told people as soon as the Lakers' recent season was winding down that Kevin Durant was coming this summer…with Russell Westbrook the next.
This is exactly what’s wrong with the Lakers. They believe the 16 championships, the shiny bright uniforms and the LA weather are more than enough to recruit any free agent. That’s why Aldridge pretty much laughed at them last year.
Imagine if the Celtics had that philosophy in frigid Boston. No free agent would ever sign there.
Free agents want to know they have a shot at a championship. That’s all. Certainly money and prestige play a factor, but unless you’re Carmelo Anthony, no professional athlete is content playing for a losing team. It doesn't matter how many millions are pouring in. Losing sucks.
Buss needs to step down for the Lakers to succeed again. Even then, that organization needs to be humbled a little more before they can gain some perspective on how to win. It was obvious to everyone, except for those within the Lakers organization, that no superstar wanted to play with an aging Kobe, that Dwight Howard was be a bad fit and that it takes more than just the iconic purple and gold uniforms to attract players nowadays.
Winning helps too.