The Los Angeles Lakers may have started their offseason early, but the spotlight remains pointed at them. In fact, the abrupt end to their season has left them with more questions than answers, as is evident by the NBA betting specials.
But whenever it’s the Lakers, we can expect nothing but either surprising or shocking news. Not making a splash would, in fact, be considered surprising, so here are four takes: two obvious and two bold for you to snack on.
LA Lakers Next Moves: Bold and the Obvious
Obvious: Keep Frank Vogel
Fire Frank Vogel? Fans love to tweet things at the heat of the moment. The coaching carousel is in full motion but that won’t include the coach that just helped the Lakers win its 17th title a year ago. One does not simply fire coaches.
The Lakers’ season ended on a whimper but it wasn’t Vogel’s fault that his two main stars were either hampered or missing due to injuries. Vogel still coached a team with guard Dennis Schroder and forward Montrezl Harrell among its two best players to a respectable 42-30 record and the best defensive rating in the NBA.
The offense hovered between subpar to pathetic whenever LeBron James and Anthony Davis were off the floor. But that can be tweaked with a few roster moves all which don’t need to involve axing Vogel.
Pick: Will Lakers Hire New Coach For 2021-2022 Season? – No (-2000)
Obvious: Lakers Will Let Kyle Kuzma Go
From one layup to the next, forward Kyle Kuzma will most certainly be wearing a different jersey next season. Even if the Lakers could re-sign him to a “team-friendly” deal, his performance in the playoffs was so abysmal it aggravated James to the point that he left the team’s final game.
J Cole to Kyle Kuzma in the BAL next year pic.twitter.com/DRxnJPkDP0
— Josh (@APELLsauce) June 4, 2021
Kuzma had more Shaqtin-A-Fool moments than he had highlight reels as he averaged just 6.3 points and shot 29.2 percent from the field in 21.5 minutes in the postseason. But maybe egging on Kuzma is a bit unfair since everyone else on the team, including Schroder, had performances that could only be described as underwhelming.
Pick: Will Kuzma Be on Lakers’ Opening Day Roster in 2021-2022? – No (-350)
Bold: Lakers Will Sign-And-Trade Schroder for New PG
Now Schroder, to his credit, was not as bad as Kuzma. In fact, there were some times where he was the team’s second-best player. Maybe that’s more of an indictment on how bad the Lakers were against Phoenix or maybe he’s just getting undeserved hatred.
Schroder was recovering from COVID and still put up 22 points, three rebounds, and 3.5 assists while shooting 51.9 percent from the field in the Lakers’ two playoff wins. His play plummeted in the final three games where he averaged just 9.3 points on 25 percent shooting. He even had a donut in Game 5.
The silver lining here is that the Lakers finally realize they badly need a point guard. Not just any point guard but a great point guard. With Schroder now an unrestricted free agent, the Lakers can choose to just let him walk or sign him to a mid-sized contract and use him as a bargaining chip to acquire a significant upgrade.
Pick: Will Schroder Be on Lakers Opening Day Roster in 2021-2022? – No (+150)
Bold: Lakers Will Acquire Damian Lillard
A whirlwind of emotions will overcome the NBA world when this happens. Just imagine it: The Lakers find a way to acquire Damian Lillard from the Portland Trail Blazers. As much as fans would hate to see it, this will give Lillard his best chance to finally win an NBA championship.
Like James, Lillard exited the playoffs in disappointing fashion thanks primarily to the uninspiring play of his teammates. Lillard averaged 34.3 points and 10.2 assists while shooting 44.9 percent from three against the Denver Nuggets. Yet not even his miraculous 55-point effort in double overtime could save his team from another early exit.
Lillard, who has emphasized in the past he wants to be a Blazer for life, looked visibly downtrodden. Now everyone is buzzing about his future with the team.
The Lakers and Lillard are a perfect match on paper. The team needs scoring and elite point guard play, both of which Lillard will provide, while Lillard needs a team that can play defense and help him. A healthy Davis and James will most certainly do that.
The new-look Lakers would easily become the favorites to win the NBA championship. As far as bold online bets, take a shot on them to acquire Lillard and to win it all (+600) next season.