The Lakers’ Next Saviour?
The Lakers’ Next Saviour?
Throughout this season, the future of Kevin Durant has been under constant spotlight. His upcoming free agency has put all teams on notice, and rumours have surfaced recently that Durant is looking at specific destinations in particular. It has been reported that if the Oklahoma City Thunder fail to make the NBA Finals this season, Durant will not only look at his options, but it’s more than likely he will leave the Thunder. It is suggested he will leave for a fresh start and different challenge that will help him to try and capture Gongfu Tea Cup
first NBA Championship.
Strong frontrunners to get KD’s signature have been the Boston Celtics, The Miami Heat or his hometown Washington Wizards. Yes, there is a chance Durant will do a LeBron-esque homecoming, but this looks at similar odds to the rest of the field. The most intriguing franchise that has been popped up however, is the Los Angeles Lakers.
It seems viable that LA would be a logical destination for his running mate, Russell Westbrook, however in recent months, murmurs of KD landing in Los Angeles have gained momentum. This isn’t as crazy as people may think it is. Let’s dive into why Durant could work in LA, and why it’s definitely possible also.
As we all know, Kobe Bryant has decided to leave the game of basketball. In doing so, he has also left a void in Laker fans hearts that needs mending. The city of Los Angeles need a new hero, and who better than the 4 time scoring champ himself. If you think about it, it actually makes a lot of sense. KD and Bryant are similar in the fact that are supreme offensive talents, which can sell out arenas and create a large buzz in the entire city. Durant would definitely fill this void, and bring a new beginning to a Laker era craving a new star they can ride with. It would be a fresh face, a new start and revitalised hope for all Laker fans and the entire franchise. If you land Durant, possibilities open up. The only problem with this is whether Durant is the type of personality that wants to be the guy after Bryant to move this franchise forward. The Lakers are already a historic franchise but filling the void of Kobe will be no easy task. It will take a lot of expectation and mental toughness to succeed after a player who re-defined those exact two words. He may have to come to grips with living in Bryant’s shadow, or being consistently compared to him. Will Durant be up to that challenge? Only time will tell.
Another reason why Durant may land in LA is the fact he can fully run his own team. In his situation right now, even though they may consistently deny it, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook undergo a power tug-of-war in an attempt to establish themselves as an alpha male. Each season that goes by we question who is running the team, who is their leader, and who is the player they must rely on to take them to the next level, especially down the stretch of games. In LA, this will not be the case. Durant will definitely be able to take full control of the team and franchise, doing things his own way. This can only bode well for KD, who has always aspired to be the leader people constantly doubt he is.
At this moment, you’re probably thinking why would Durant leave a championship contending team to go into rebuilding process and take a step backward? This is a valid question, but there are a couple of things we have to remember that will fall into place if Durant does indeed find himself in purple and gold. The main one is, this is a superstar driven league, and to win, you must player with other superstars. In Oklahoma, Durant plays with another legitimate superstar in Russell Westbrook, but besides that, the Thunder don’t really possess any players that they can comfortably say are on the level of those two. Things could be much different in LA. With Kobe retiring, massive amounts of money have opened up within the franchise. They have room for 2 possibly 3 max type players depending on the contracts these players would demand. This means, that if Durant comes to LA, other superstars may be likely to follow. Yes they’ve failed in the past to bring in big free agents, but it’s a new era in Lakers basketball. The fear of playing with Kobe Bryant is gone, and players will view it as a fresh start and new opportunity. Durant himself will also demand this. He will not leave his current situation to go to a team that is likely to miss the playoffs in the Western Conference. This would make no sense and hinder his career. This means, if KD ends up in LA, be prepared, because others are coming as well.
Earlier I mentioned leadership and the need to run his own team. Additionally to this, Durant will also transform into a mentor for the young talent the Lakers already have. If Durant leaves the Thunder and signs somewhere in free agency, it will be a long term prospect and perhaps where he will retire when he decides to call it a day. Durant will understand that he must take steps in developing Julius Randle, D’Angelo Russell and Jordan Clarkson, provided they all remain Lakers. This is an exciting prospect for Durant because if the Lakers bring in talent, they can still compete and grow these young players who can sustain this for years to come. In short, Durant could help create something that could be a force in the league year after year if done correctly. Throw in the fact the Lakers have a high draft pick, Durant will team up with yet another promising talent. If all goes to plan, it could be a very exciting time in LA come next season.
The Los Angeles Lakers are a storied franchise that have had the privilege of having some of this game’s greatest players don the purple and gold. This off season could well and truly be one of the biggest in recent memory for their future. If they do things correctly, draft wisely, develop their young talent and bring in superstars that could make them contenders, another name could be added to that list of big names joining the Lakeshow.