Commentary

How the Lakers can reload

L.A. should pursue Dwight Howard, others on trade market to make another title run

Originally Published: August 16, 2011
By Ryan Corazza | ESPN Insider
Kobe BryantCary Edmondson/US PresswireWith a retooled roster, the Lakers can return to their championship form.

Editor's note: Our series this week examines what would happen if five teams decided to start over following seismic personnel shifts before the 2012-13 season. Due to varying factors including age, salaries or expiring contracts, these five teams have decided to begin anew. But such an exercise comes with some rules: 1) the owners get the hard salary cap they desire; and 2) exclude the 2012 NBA draft. Today we look at the Los Angeles Lakers.

The last time we saw the Lakers on the court?

Andrew Bynum was ripping off his jersey after extending a forearm shiver to J.J. Barea en route to a Dallas Mavericks sweep of the two-time defending champs in the second round of the 2010-11 playoffs.

Not a good look.

There now exist two roads for the Lakers. The first? Stay the course. After all, this team, as currently constructed, is still a title contender.

The other? Blowing it up and retooling a squad that ain't getting any younger and could use a boost in athleticism. That's the option that we're going to explore here:

Step 1: Kill two birds with one trade

The Lakers are in a bit of a pickle, insomuch as impact trade assets are limited and a bloated payroll -- currently set for $93 million in 2011-12 and $91 million in 2012-13, according to Sham Sports -- likely won't leave them much wiggle room to land any free agents of note without a serious salary purge, especially if the cap shrinks.

So the trade route -- one in which the Lakers are going to have to give up value to get value in return -- might exist as the best option by which to shake things up in L.A.