The NBA offseason grows more dramatic by the minute but you wouldn’t know it here in Los Angeles. Sure, the rumor mill has cranked out some nice topics for bar debates but there has been no movement whatsoever to speak of in Lakers country.
The only signing the Lakers have made thus far was to bring back Darius Morris for another season. That doesn’t even qualify as a drop in the free agency bucket from the wide perspective. Mitch Kupchak might be working the phones on potential trades but in the FA market the Lakers options are beyond limited.
With only a $3-million mine mid-level exception available the Lake Show is looking for someone will to give them a serious discount. According to reports the Lakers are looking at Nick Young and Brandon Rush as potential targets. Of course both could stand to make much more on the open market. Rush was in the $3-million range last season while Young made twice as much. Either way the Lakers will have to do some serious selling.
Kupchak’s hands are tied and he’s in a bad spot. He’s got an owner that is stressing no major moves and a fan base that’s eager to see another title contender. Then there’s also the issue of Kobe Bryant’s desire to catch and possibly surpass Michael Jordan as the most decorated player of the modern era.
Can’t at all say I envy Kupchak. The Lakers are in a strange place caught somewhere between building and rebuilding.
The Buss family is trying to lessen the amount they pay in luxury taxes. That means going above and beyond the cap in the sake of re-signing players like Ramon Sessions is a shaky proposition at best. It also means that some of those blockbuster deals we’ve been discussing will be even more difficult to accomplish if the Lakers are matching dollar for dollar. Currently Kupchak still has an$8-million trade exception in his back pocket. But all that does is allow the Lakers to take on more salary than what they might be willing to pay out.
These are much different times in Lakerland. L.A. is no longer the premier destination it once was and the new CBA has limited options that would have otherwise been available. Kupchak has yet another challenge to overcome and has only a small window of time to do so. Nobody ever said this was going to be easy but who knew it would be this difficult?