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Kobe Bryant said the Lakers will be champions “before you know it.” Is he right about this and, if so, when do you think the Lakers will get title No. 17?
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Steve Aschburner: If the Lakers hoist the Larry O’Brien Trophy in June 2020, I will not be surprised. That’s an awfully fast track, just 23 months after landing LeBron James, but James has ridden in this rodeo before. He has no time to lose, either, as far as maximizing his superpowers against the inevitability of Father Time. We all expect an extensive renovation of the L.A. roster this offseason, just as Golden State comes a bit back to the pack and Houston continues to slide sideways. There are some pesky foes to consider in Toronto, Boston and Philadelphia, but let’s get LeBron back to The Finals and see what happens.
Shaun Powell: The Lakers will raise another banner if Kevin Durant packs up and drives down the Pacific Coast Highway next summer. Absent of that, Kobe might be thinking wishfully. The Warriors with KD means everyone else, including LeBron James, is playing for second place for the next 2-3 seasons. And LeBron, who turns 34 this month, is on the clock.
John Schuhmann: "Before you know it" is a little too vague to determine if it's right or wrong. I guess it's correct if he's talking to people who watch The Finals on TV with a five-second delay. We can be 95 percent sure that the Lakers aren't winning a championship this season. Beyond that, who knows? It will depend a lot on what Kevin Durant chooses to do next summer. If he leaves Golden State (even it's not to join the Lakers), the championship picture opens up quite a bit.
Sekou Smith: I'm not sure what Kobe means by "before you know it." He left himself some very convenient wiggle room with that phrase. If the Lakers hit it big in free agency in the summer, he'll be a lot closer to right than he is at this moment. The Lakers are a long way from being ready to dethrone the two-time defending champion Golden State Warriors. So it might be wise to pump the brakes a bit on all of this championship talk involving the Lakers. That said, it's been a while since the Lakers had this kind of hope to hang on to. LeBron James has a way of making that happen, wherever he goes. But there's no need to go ordering banner 17 until we see how free agency plays out.