Mitch Kupchak and the Lakers have done it again. The Lakers are now back in contention for next year's title and though their age may be startling to some, experience and talent will be a non-issue.
Alongside the signing of future HOF Steve Nash (three years, $27 million) and recently-acquired veteran forward Antawn Jamison (veteran's minimum), Jordan Hill (two years, $7 million) has been another great addition to what looks to be a potential contender in next season. The fact that the Lakers own Jordan Hill's Bird Rights made it possible for them to cut such a great deal, and so far that has also been their theme: making a lot with a little.
The Lakers are still in pursuit of finding a couple more pieces to add to their championship puzzle and though they don't have too much more money to offer, they do have the core group of players to drag in much-needed attention. Just look at what happened with Jamison. The man cut his salary and his starting position to contend for a title. If he is willing to do it, there will be plenty more.
But will these players be enough for the Lakers to contend for a title next year?
Although Dwight Howard doesn't appear to be taking his talents to the sunny beaches of California anytime soon, the Lakers may honestly not even need him to contend next season.
For those of you who already forgot, one of the on-going topics of last season was whether or not the Lakes' current center Andrew Bynum was better than Howard, and though the consensus may still be in Howard's favor, the Lakers can still rest assured knowing that they have a top-two center in this league moving forward.
Yes, Bynum has proven to be a little more trouble than good, but if you wanna go with the most recent version of Bynum, we have to give the man some slack and say that he has done his part to develop and stay healthy this past year.
It may not be enough to silence all of the critics, but it's a great first step in moving in the right direction for the rising star, Bynum.
Now the Lakers have a proven point guard in Nash, they have a potential sixth-man in Jamison, they have their original core of Kobe, Gasol and Bynum and now they have the hustle and energy from Hill coming off the bench. If the Lakers can find a reliable outside shooter in these coming months, we may be in store for another super team in the Western Conference. Roger Mason, anybody?
Just imagine the potential this Laker team has at this point in time. The Lakers may be one of the worst at defending the pick-and-roll, but I'll tell you what, they will be doing a lot of their own pick-and-roll with Nash and Gasol in these next couple of seasons—and who could honestly stop that?
The potential is there and the excitement has definitely risen in the "City of Angels." The Lakers are back and it's been a long time coming. LeBron and the Heat may be the kings of the NBA as of now, but there won't be any guarantees moving forward as long as this Laker team stays healthy.
I can see the headlines and billboards now: The Los Angeles Lakers, the First Retirement Home to Win an NBA Championship.