It’s dismal times in Los Angeles, at least for the Los Angeles Lakers. Contrary to past trends, the Los Angeles Clippers are the more competitive team with a more talented roster by a landslide. The Lakers finished the 2013-14 season 30 wins behind the in-town rival Clippers, and things do not seem as if they are turning around anytime soon.
Management made it a point of emphasis last offseason to preserve cap space moving forward after losing supposed cornerstone Dwight Howard. After spending about half of that cap space on Kobe Bryant‘s enormous contract, Los Angeles is in the same boat as last summer, looking for players to sign to one-year deals. Such a short-term contract is not very attractive to any impact players and rightfully so, as they do not guarantee the long-term security they have always strived for.
As a result, this leaves limited options when filing out a roster for next season. Just about everybody is a free agent this summer for the Lakers, leaving the team with ample cap space to re-sign almost every player on the current roster. The following salaries will be on the books:
Kobe Bryant $23,500,000
Steve Nash $9,701,000
Robert Sacre $915,243
First-round pick minimum salary $2,736,100
This leaves the team with slightly over $26 million to spend, certainly plenty of cash to make a splash in the open market. Unfortunately, the 2014 free agency class is not loaded, therefore improvements do not seem to be on their way for at least one more year.
That’s right, one more year of pain and suffering. Perhaps Mitch Kupchak will make a run at Carmelo Anthony, but it’s highly doubtful at this point. If Kupchak decides Anthony is a championship-caliber player though, he may not be out of the realm of possibility.
Furthermore, this situation has the potential to become even worse with the rumored return of Mike D’Antoni. This particular decision could be the sole reason why productive players like Pau Gasol and Jordan Hill would walk. Neither player has enjoyed playing for D’Antoni and they have definitely made their point clear regarding the head coach. It would be tough to imagine Kupchak doing absolutely nothing this summer though, especially if those two players bail.
The only new player I could see wearing the purple and gold next season is Luol Deng. Depending on the asking price, he can be a solid pickup to keep fans sane until players like Kevin Love and Rajon Rondo hit the market. Other than that, regrettably , I wouldn’t expect much of a drastic roster change.