How the Lakers can protect their future and please LeBron James

    With the absence of a head coach and free agency approaching, the Los Angeles Lakers have their hands full. 

    To make things more interesting, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reported on the “Unsportsmanlike” radio show that LeBron James told the Lakers to not center their head coach decision around him, but rather focus on Anthony Davis and the future of the organization. 

    While the coaching hire will serve as a major indicator of the Lakers’ future, this will not be the only thing that the organization will need to fixate on.

    Amid a season that was widely seen as a disappointment for the Purple and Gold, buzz started circulating that the franchise was looking for a third star to pair with James and Davis. James, who is currently 39 years old, has hinted that his time on the hardwood may be rounding to a close. 

    James is set to be a free agent this summer, and if he re-signs with the Lakers (as many are expecting), this puts some pressure on them to accomplish two tasks. 

    The first is to establish a roster that gives James a fighting chance to push for a fifth title in his final act. In addition, the Lakers will need to prepare for a life without James. To get the best of both worlds, here are a few things that the Lakers need to do or not do.

    Do: Hire Dan Hurley

    Hurley is a winner; his time at Rhode Island and UConn showcases his ability to establish a winning culture. As one of the best coaches in college basketball and a back-to-back national champion, Hurley makes an impressive case for being the guy to bring the Lakers back to consistent relevancy. 

    Hurley’s potential fit with the organization was further highlighted following the resurfacing of an April tweet from James where he praised Hurley’s coaching style.

    The Lakers organization appears to be infatuated with the idea of Hurley bringing his brand of basketball over to Los Angeles. Doing so would benefit the Purple and Gold sooner rather than later.

    Do: Trade for young talent 

    Big-name guards such as Trae Young and Donovan Mitchell have been listed as potential trade targets for the Lakers to pair with James and Davis to ease their burden.

    Mitchell would serve as another excellent offensive option thanks to his playmaking and athleticism. His ability to play on and off the ball would serve as a great benefit to the Lakers, who would then have the luxury of switching up their offensive tempo. On the other end, Mitchell is no stranger to defense and could give the Lakers aid on the perimeter.

    Young would serve as a quality option as well. Though he may not size up to Mitchell in terms of defense, his elite playmaking and marksmanship from range make him an appealing target as well. His ability to serve as a scorer and a facilitator would certainly be a tremendous help to James and Co.

    Though this would likely require trading future first-round picks, a move to acquire either one of these guys would put the Lakers in a position to help LeBron now and Davis in the future.

    Don’t: Trade for older talent 

    The Lakers have been linked to seasoned NBA talents such as DeMar DeRozan and most recently Jimmy Butler following a cryptic comment he made during an interview with Spectrum Sports’ Nikki Kay while attending a Los Angeles Sparks game. 

    While acquiring the services of these superstars could provide a boost in the contention race, it would be wise for the Lakers to focus on bringing in veterans on cap-friendly deals to avoid surrendering draft capital.

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