Lakers’ Complete 2022 Offseason Blueprint | Bleacher Report

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    David Zalubowski/Associated Press

    The Los Angeles Lakers had a disastrous 2021-22, spiraling from preseason championship hopes to the draft lottery.

    That collapse is even worse than it sounds, since the typical cushion of a lottery pick is gone, as the selection was sacrificed in the 2019 mega-trade that brought Anthony Davis to Hollywood.

    The Lakers’ goal for the 2022 NBA offseason is at least simple: Make enough progress that this campaign is never spoken of again.

    From hiring a head coach to parting with a name-brand point guard, let’s hit all the major items on the summer checklist.

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    Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

    Frank Vogel served as the Lakers head coach for three seasons. That’s common knowledge, yet worth mentioning, because it felt more like a lifetime.

    The 48-year-old oversaw both a championship run and one of the most disappointing seasons in recent memory, squeezing a fairly forgettable, injury-riddled 2020-21 campaign in between.

    He constructed a championship defense but never had the same success at offense, which became a glaring issue as the defense collapsed.

    Whether Vogel deserves his dismissal is a moot point. It happened, and the Lakers need to find the right replacement.

    Will they lean toward an offense instead of defense this time? How much will experience matter? Do they want a motivator or a tactician? Will they spend what it takes to chase the biggest names on the market?

    There are myriad questions to answer, but there should be. The Lakers, arguably, won’t make a more important decision all summer than this one.

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    David Zalubowski/Associated Press

    The Lakers can’t go another season with Russell Westbrook on the roster—or, perhaps more importantly, the payroll.

    I mean, sure, they could do that. The 33-year-old will be on the books as soon as he picks up his $47.1 million player option, per Spotracso if they don’t want to eat that money or sacrifice whatever draft compensation is needed to trade him away, they could run it back and hope for the best.

    But there are a lot of things you could do in life that you absolutely shouldn’t, and this feels like one of them.

    His game never fit alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis or in relief of them. The best result for all parties is an amicable divorce, whether that’s through a trade, a buy out or Westbrook being waived and stretched.

    A trade is the preferred outcome for the Purple and Gold, but they can’t give up too much (one future first-rounder is probably doable, but two should be a deal-breaker) and need to walk away with some type of contributor .

    Ideally, they’d pluck a couple of rotation players, but even if they just move Westbrook for a similarly high priced, awkward fitting player (John Wall in HoustonGordon Hayward in Charlotte), that’s almost certainly better than standing pat.

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    Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

    The Lakers have plenty to fix this summer and limited resources at their disposal. That’s objectively bad news.

    There is one bright spot, though: They’ve already found a workable formula for supporting their stars.

    Back in 2020, they built a championship-level supporting cast with significant two-way talent on the perimeter. Between Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Alex Caruso, Kyle Kuzma and Danny Green, they had a host of guards and wings who played both ends, most of whom could knock down an open shot.

    This season’s Lakers—squeezed for spending money by the Westbrook trade—had too many one-way players. The shooters were specialists. So were the stoppers. Very few made positive contributions at both ends, and the result was a team that simply wasn’t very good on either side.

    LA must use this summer to increase its shooting, length and defensive versatility on the perimeter. That’s tricky with the budget constraints, but the Lakers have the taxpayer mid-level exception and a few trade chips to throw around.

    This may be their last crack at constructing a contender around LeBron James—he is 37 years old and unsigned beyond next season—so they must make their additions count.

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