For the final time this season, ESPN.com Lakers beat writer Baxter Holmes, along with ESPN.com NBA writers Ramona Shelburne and Arash Markazi, weigh in on three questions that are on the minds of Los Angeles Lakers followers.
1.Can the Lakers put their immediate future in the hands of Rajon Rondo if they were to acquire him?
Holmes: Only if they add other pieces around him, because that's the only way he thrives. If Rondo is the only major acquisition they make this summer, then they failed. That said, I'm not sure point guard is a position the Lakers need to focus on the most this summer. If anything, Jordan Clarkson has proven he could be their point guard of the future. They have other issues that need tending to as well.
Shelburne: Yes. It's a risk, but at the right price I think it's worth it. Rondo might be hard to coach, but he's respected by players around the league and it's never a bad thing to have a pass-first point guard. I wouldn't commit to this course without doing due diligence on Marc Gasol, LaMarcus Aldridge and others, but the Lakers need to get someone this summer as it's the last summer they'll have more cap space than everyone else.
Markazi: No. I think giving Rondo a big contract would be the worst mistake they could make. I think Russell Westbrook is the long-term fix at point guard when he becomes available, and in the short term, the answer is Clarkson. Giving Rondo a long-term, big-money contract would be a big mistake at this point in his career.
2. Jeremy Lin says he hasn't ruled out a return, but do the Lakers want him back?
Holmes: It's hard to see any sort of Jeremy Lin-Byron Scott relationship working out, just as it's difficult to see any sort of Nick Young-Byron Scott relationship working out. As long as Scott coaches the Lakers, it'll be very difficult for Lin to fit in.
Shelburne: No. He'd be OK as a backup for $3 million-$5 million a year, but I don't think that's the role he wants and we've already seen he's not that comfortable in Scott's offense and playing alongside Kobe Bryant. It's best for both sides for Lin to be playing elsewhere, in a role he's comfortable in, next season.
Markazi: I think Lin could still be a nice role player off the bench. The problem is I think it's clear he's not a reliable starter, so if he wants to come back as a starter, this might not be the best fit for him. But if he's fine being a role player off the bench, I think there's a spot for him on the roster.
3. What is the No. 1 thing the Lakers need to accomplish before next season?
Holmes: Draft well and develop some of their young players through summer league. Sure, it would be great if they could hit a home run in free agency, and the Lakers will no doubt try (as they always do), but they'll likely have a top-five pick as well as Julius Randle from last season. Those two players alone, plus Clarkson, offer a lot of promise as building blocks going forward.
Shelburne: They need to acquire talent. It doesn't matter who they get or what positions they play or how it all fits together. The Lakers just need to bring in the proverbial "best players available." You can always make moves and adjust on the fly after you have talent, but if you have no assets to work with, it's hard to generate much movement.
Markazi: Get an All-Star player. I know that sounds obvious and ridiculous, but the Lakers need to start the rebuilding process now by attracting a cornerstone piece they can start building from. Bringing in the likes of Carlos Boozer and Jeremy Lin isn't going to cut it this offseason.