Just imagine if the said deals did push through, it would have changed the Lakers' fate
During the course of the last 10 years, the Los Angeles Lakers last made it to the playoffs last 2013 when they were swept by the second-seeded San Antonio Spurs. That was one of the worst Laker team to make it to the playoffs as they never got anything going despite having a line-up that had Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol, Metta World Peace and, Steve Nash. Howard and Kobe never got to settle their differences while Nash was out in most of that season due to injury.
Kobe Bryant remained with the Lakers after that season and retired a Laker in 2016. Steve Nash retired earlier while Dwight Howard had been bouncing from one team to another but looks like he has settled down with the Charlotte Hornets and Pau Gasol is now with the Spurs.
Since then, the Lakers haven't been competitive despite having a young core of Julius Randle, Brandon Ingram, D'Angelo Russell and, Jordan Clarkson. Most of the time, they were dwelling near the bottom of the Western Conference and now that Julius Randle is the remaining member of that Laker team that last played alongside Kobe Bryant, it's beginning to appear that the Lakers will eventually get rid of Randle to have enough cap space for two potential big stars for next season. But, will those stars bite the bait and join the Lakers?
To begin with, there were many stars who were said to be either interested to join the Purple and Gold or, would have traded to the Lakers during the past seasons and frankly, if even one of those deals happened, it would have been enough to change the struggling state of the Lakers. Below are just 3 of the stars that the Lakers missed:
Let's start with one of the biggest misses of the Lakers. Chris Paul came from the 2010-2011 season with averages of 15 points and 9 assists for New Orleans, then known as the Hornets. Surprisingly, New Orleans was already ready to give up Chris Paul in exchange for Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom- both played significant roles in the Lakers' 2009 and 2010 championship runs.
Unfortunately, the NBA, through then-Commissioner David Stern, nixed the deal, making one of the worst mistakes the NBA has ever made. Just imagine if the trade was approved, how many championships Kobe Bryant would have won with a point guard of Chris Paul's caliber? Many Laker fans, including this one, are still hating on the NBA for the veto.
Okay. Okay. Calm yourselves down, Laker fans. You can call him a snake or whatever animal you want to call him but whether we admit or not, had Kevin Durant decided to sign with the Lakers prior to the start of the 2016-2017 instead of taking the easy way to a championship when he chose to join the Golden State Warriors who endured the biggest embarrassment of all after blowing a 3-1 series lead during the 2016 NBA Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers. To begin with, Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder blew their own 3-1 lead against the Warriors in the playoffs of that same season.
Had Durant signed with the Lakers, it would have given the Lakers a bigger chance at a playoff spot owing to Durant's ability score especially during critical situations.
Like Kevin Durant, Lamarcus Aldridge's name had been included in the rumors with regards to the possibility of him going to the Lakers back in 2015. In fact, Kobe Bryant was among those who tried to talk LA into joining him in LA. Unfortunately, not even a chance to play alongside the greatest Laker- according to Magic Johnson, could lure Aldridge into going to Hollywood and instead, he went to Texas and joined the Spurs in San Antonio.
What an LA in LA could have done? Simple. Kobe Bryant would have gotten another All-Star caliber teammate and a relatively good pop-up shooter from mid-range- somewhat like Pau Gasol.
Bonus: LeBron James
Did you know that Kobe Bryant was almost sent to the Cleveland Cavaliers in exchange for none other than LeBron James? Apparently, this swap became almost a possibility back in the summer of 2007. What happened? If you ask the Black Mamba himself, his answer will be simple: he would have never approved it as he stated that Cleveland wasn't one of his desired destinations. Ironic, isn't it?
The Lakers are preparing for another busy month this coming July as they are among the teams who will attempt to lure LeBron James AND Paul George to join Lonzo Ball. Can they do it? They will have the cap space by then to offer two max deals. The better question is: will LeBron and/or PG13 going to sign with the Lakers? The Lakers make sure they get one of the starts or they will endure another long, miserable season.