BY: SANDY NASER @missnaser

Although Westbrook isn’t a free agent until 2017, are Lakers waiting in the shadows for him? Does the LA Laker franchise suit him? I’ve been pretty critical of the Los Angeles Lakers not trying to surround Kobe Bryant with some real talent a he heads down the final stretch of his career. While Kobe’s 24-million per year, during a two-year retirement stroll, has been a noose around the necks of the Lakers during last season’s free-agent frenzy that saw LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony, and every other big name say no thanks, perhaps the more-than-silent Laker front office has a plan.

They better.

It’s interesting when you think about the Lakers trying to do something when they have Kobe for two more years. Players around the league don’t seem to want to hang around and play second-fiddle to a guy that takes a lot of shots, and seems to take even more shots at his less than stellar cast of players that currently dot the Lakers roster.

Kobe for two years, well, that’s a long time.

Kobe for one year? Well, I’m guessing people might get on the Laker bus with the notion that the keys to Laker land will be handed over once Kobe walks out the pearly, purple and gold gates where he played his ass off.

The Laker roster right now is unidentifiable. No one on that roster truly has a name, no standout player, no one has any toughness and no one has any panache.

I say the Lakers start the mode towards rebuilding this summer by grabbing former USC star and current Toronto Raptor DeMar DeRozan. The high-flying two-guard from Toronto has been banged up a tad this season but he’s averaging just under 20 points. The writing is on the wall in Toronto. This is a nice team that has come miles in the past few years. The problem for them is that Cleveland looks loaded for the next five years and that means the Raptors have just about maxed out where they can go.

DeRozan, while not likely to be the man in L.A. is a solid No. 2 that brings a high wire act that I’m guessing would be much appreciated in LA. Not to mention DeRozan could bring another level of fans since being in his home town.

The real caveat for this Lakers team though would be to see former UCLA Bruin an current Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook come home. Whatever is going on in OKC, with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook is great, but it’s hard to say if its going to be title worthy. Scott Brooks isn’t the answer in OKC and I fear that the title run in OKC might be over if Westbrook, Durant, or possibly both jump at first opportunity.

I see Russell Westbrook coming home to play in L.A. I’m guessing he understands what it sounds like to be appreciated by the bang of Laker fans that are hoping the nightmare that has been the last three seasons comes to a screeching halt.

Russell Westbrook is pure energy and athleticism. He’s one of the most explosive player in the NBA and he makes his teammates better, not with a sharp tongue, but with his inspired play.

So, if OKC loses in the first round, or doesn’t make the playoffs because Durant and Westbrook just can’t seem to stay healthy. Maybe OKC implodes and the Lakers get better in a hurry.

Russell Westbrook and DeMar DeRozan to long term deals and Kobe around for just 82 more games before he turns the reigns over to he young bloods.

HMMM, interesting… You heard it here first… what are your thoughts?