It’s no secret that this year’s Lakers team is nothing more than stop-gap in preparation of next summer’s spending spree. Despite assembling possibly a better team than what was expected thanks to some key role players taking discounts to become Lakers, this team is a borderline playoff team at best.
We’ve talked about how this team will be one you can root for and one you can be proud of, but in the end, the 2014-15 Lakers will look NOTHING like this year’s version does. Thanks to the slew of one-year deals and expiring contracts, only Steve Nash and Robert Sacre have guaranteed deals through the summer. The one-year deals not only give the Lakers flexibility next summer, but it could give them even more options come the trade deadline in February.
For many, many years, come trade deadline time, the Lakers have been buyers, not sellers during the trade deadline. Some of the most recent in-season trades have seen them net Ramon Sessions, Jordan Hill, Pau Gasol, and Shannon Brown, all key contributors on playoff and even title winning teams. The Lakers have always looked for additions to further improve their team in the immediate future and with seeming disregard to further seasons. We’ve gained a reputation for a team who places little value on draft picks, historically biting us in the butt last season. Instead, we look for proven talent to make us a title-contending team.
This year will certainly be different. With a squad full of role players, teams could turn to the Lakers in hopes of adding the missing piece to a title winning team. Nick Young and Jodie Meeks have the ability to be prolific scorers. Steve Blake is a seasoned veteran and could be a solid back-up PG off the bench. Chris Kaman is a polished post-player who could also be a contributor off the bench, possibly even as a starter. Essentially, any Laker not named Kobe Bryant is likely available for the right price.
With a host of draft picks traded away in recent years, the Lakers don’t have a lot of options available in terms of assembling young talent. In order, they’re out a 2nd round in 2014, a 1st rounder and 2nd rounder in 2015, and a 1st rounder in 2017. That’s not a lot of options for a team that will be looking to rebuild their franchise in one year.
This is going to be unlike any Lakers team you’ve rooted for before. This won’t be a title contending team and this team will definitely not be a buyer at the trade deadline. Be prepared for a wacky, but hopefully promising and foundation-building, season by the Lakers.