Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Now, Duel of the Laker Titans.Popular as the NBA is here with two teams playing to packed houses and pulling down hundreds of millions in local TV revenue, it’s been a long time since we were actually relevant, with the Clippers still in eclipse while disappearing early in the playoffs and the Lakers coming off No. 14-14-15-14 finishes in the West.That may be about to end. Whether it’s real or mere perception, both teams are under dynamic new management ready to rock and roll on the trade market and free agency, hoping for dramatic advances … and a real shot at the ultimate prize, LeBron James, a 2018 free agent. The Lakers’ plans/hopes go like this:1. Get a point guard — Check.That’s Lonzo Ball, who comes billed as the most gifted young playmaker since Jason Kidd, which would make him infinitely better than the maturity-challenged, scoring point guard D’Angelo Russell, whom Johnson bade farewell in his inimitable style (“He has the talent to be an excellent player… but what I needed was a leader.”)Lonzo is Magic’s Magic, an unselfish player who makes everyone around him better… or, in other words, the kind of player the Lakers haven’t had since Magic.Given their 53 percent chance of losing their lottery pick, it’s nothing short of a coup.Of course, Lonzo comes with his own maturity issues — those of his father, the mouth who keeps roaring, now guaranteeing his kid will lead the Lakers to the playoffs next season.How long before the ego-tripping LaVar, who’s only signaling his frustrations with his own life’s accomplishments, realizes that living through his son is only making it harder for Lonzo, with the entire league targeting him as if he was Michael Jordan instead of an NBA rookie?Remember Kentucky’s De’Aaron Fox outscoring Lonzo, 39-10, in the NCAA Tournament, in all-out attack mode, he said, “to shut LaVar Ball up?”On Lonzo’s first night in the NBA, Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid tweeted a plea to Sixers No. 1 pick Markelle Fultz to “dunk on him so hard that his daddy runs on the court to save him.”Oh, right. LaVar might not ever realize it as long as someone in the press is there to ask him about his greatness as a father.All together, Lakerdom: “Nice job so far, LaVar. Now shut the hell up.”2. Get Paul George — Still working on that one.George, a 2018 free agent, told the Pacers he won’t re-sign and wants to play for the Lakers.Unfortunately for the Lakers, teams are lined up willing to deal for George as a one-year rental, including the Cavaliers, Celtics, Wizards, Trail Blazers … and Clippers.Indiana GM Kevin Pritchard called George’s announcement “a total gut punch,” signaling the Pacers just need time to sort through all the offers.A GM who offered multiple No. 1 picks couldn’t even get into the conversation. The Pacers told him they had much better offers.With George thinking Lakers, they have the advantage of being able to offer more for a player they expect to keep than the other teams can offer for a one-year rental.So far, that appears to have been Julius Randle or Jordan Clarkson plus draft picks.It remains to be seen if the Lakers will offer Randle and Clarkson, and if that will get it done.3. Get better — With George next season, it’s doable.Without George, a sudden dramatic upturn is a longshot, no matter what you-know-who says.4. Get LeBron — Brand-conscious as James is, he might consider becoming the king of Los Angeles in his twilight years — if he thinks the Lakers are promising enough to join.Unfortunately for the Lakers, they’re hardly the favorite to land Bron.That would be the Clippers, according to their plans:1. Keep free agents Blake Griffin and Chris Paul.CP3 is still considered a safe bet to return, but Blake, heretofore said to be in love with this area, is now thinking about other places like Boston, which he said he would place on his Mt. Rushmore of NBA cities.The Celtics are targeting Blake and Utah’s Gordon Hayward, another free agent, so stay tuned to see whom they pick and who picks them.I don’t know if Blake cares about West joining up. If Kevin Durant didn’t come to Golden State because of Jerry, KD noted later how impressed he had been by West in a telephone conversation. Not many execs get you that kind of advantage but West has before.2. Keep on keeping on.The Clippers have posted win totals of 56-57-56-53-51 the past five seasons … despite Paul and Blake missing 146 games, almost two seasons’ worth.3. Get Bron.Assuming they accomplish Nos. 1-2, they would be the favorites in the Bron Derby.First of all, they would be good enough to offer Bron a chance at unseating the Warriors.Even better, CP3 is Bron’s best friend among NBA players, with each of them godparents to the other’s children.The Clippers might not even need West for this one, not that having him will hurt.Have a nice summer of imagining all the possibilities, for a change.Mark Heisler has written an NBA column since 1991 and was honored with the Naismith Hall of Fame’s Curt Gowdy Award in 2006. His column is published Sundays in Southern California News Group print editions. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with PackersFront office people aren’t normally charismatic, with top GMs such as San Antonio’s R.C. Buford all but anonymous, but the local teams have icons on the job.The Lakers, who ran out of charisma when Kobe Bryant fired up his last 50 shots in his finale, have Magic Johnson in charge … a big reason they might beat everyone to Paul George, Indiana’s 2018 free agent … now pushing for a trade to the bedraggled Lakers after years in which no star player would look at them.The Clippers are actually under their same management with Jerry West tacked on, a small move that went a long way, seeming to multiply their considerable charisma.This comes at an opportune moment with James approaching another of his many crossroads — a year from free agency with his Cavaliers once more in turmoil after the owner, whom Bron is leery of, fired the GM, whom Bron liked, amid reports that Kyrie Irving is shopping for a new home so he’s not left on the sinking ship.However it turns out, it’s enough to keep the league salivating for a year, with both local teams expected to be on Bron’s list.