The Los Angeles Lakers are in the middle of a rebuilding phase especially following the exit of Kobe Bryant from their roster. With D'Angelo Russell and Jordan Clarkson carrying the NBA team, the Luke Walton squad needs a more solid and veteran presence on the roster to lead the group on the hardwood court. Since the Los Angeles Lakers missed out on Hassan Whiteside and Kevin Durant, the young team appears to be targeting Tony Parker of the San Antonio Spurs.
The exit of Tim Duncan from the San Antonio Spurs roster just highlights the reality that the Big Three era including Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili is definitely over. At the moment, the squad relies heavily on Kawhi Leonard, Danny Green, and LaMarcus Aldridge. While this is understandable, the older players are said to be looking for a way out instead of waiting to be kicked out of the team. Hence, the Los Angeles Lakers are reportedly capitalizing on this fact to lure Tony Parker away from the San Antonio Spurs
Parker, 34, can serve as the mentor for the younger players in the Los Angeles Lakers roster. With D'Angelo Russell improving his ball handle and shots to the basket, a diminished role for Parker in the hardwood court does not necessarily mean lower value. Instead, his sheer presence in the locker room to share his wisdom and experience after years of success in the NBA can greatly contribute to the Los Angeles Lakers core team.
"It's hard for these young guys, man," said Jesse Mermuys of the adjustments of the young stars on the roster. The Los Angeles Lakers assistant coach added, "And I feel for them a little bit because when you have the ability to do that, obviously that flash is exciting. I'm sure he enjoys it and it's fun to watch for the fans. As a coach, I'm trying to rein him in and that's hard. That's a hard process where I want him to feel confident and we want him to have that swag, and it's unbelievable. It's powerful."
At the moment, one of the main players under Mermuys' watch is Russell. The promising young star had been the center of media attention last NBA season when a video he took of Nick Young admitting to cheating on then fiancee rapper Iggy Azalea made the rounds online. Another issue that pushed him into the spotlight was his rumored feud against ex-coach Byron Scott who refused to get him off the bench despite his talent.
"[W]e want him to be able to do it at the right times and doing it in a winning style of play," explained Mermuys of their strategy to curb the minutes of Russell before giving him complete control. He added, "He's finding his way and I give him so much credit for being so coachable. For him to have that type of burst at the end of the first half and then come out in the second half and then really try to buckle in on what we're trying to do, he's been awesome."
What do you think? Can Tony Parker be the mentor who can help D'Angelo Russell and the rest of the Los Angeles Lakers stars become the next superstars in the league? Are the San Antonio Spurs ready to let go of the French man?