In 2014, the plans of the Lakers and Kobe Bryant do not align. With the free agent crop stronger in 2015, it’s wise for the Lakers to be conservative with their spending. That means, next season, will be another season of players on one-year contracts. How else can one or two free agents be signed onto the Laker team with Kobe Bryant on board?
The only way that idea changes is if LeBron James opts for the early termination option on his contract and signs for the Lakers. If that’s the case, both plans line up. The Laker team can build on the rest of the roster more easily, and not spend another year trying to lure free agents on a one-year contract.
Otherwise, the best unrestricted free agents of 2014 are Loul Deng and Pau Gasol. All other players; Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Carmelo Anthony, Tim Duncan, Eric Bledsoe, Zach Randolph, and others, are either restricted or need to opt for the early termination option for their respective contracts. The Lakers need a bonafide franchise player for the future, and the chances seem slim with the above listed names.
The following year brings more hope. The talent pool for the 2015 free agency year is younger. Guys like Kevin Love, Rajon Rondo, LaMarcus Aldridge, Marc Gasol, and Klay Thompson are available. Really, who wouldn’t want to see the Gasol brothers play in the paint? Who wouldn’t want to bring Mychal Thompson’s son, Klay, to the Lakers? Who doesn’t want to bring former UCLA player Kevin Love back to Los Angeles? In any of these cases, the Laker team not only becomes a better product with better talent on the floor, but has a chance to compete in the playoffs. Talking championships is still too early after one free agent acquisition.
The Lakers are in the middle of a transient phase. The only thing that help the transition is time. Once 2015 hits, hopefully, the Lakers will be able to sign two of the above listed free agents to play with a healthy Kobe Bryant. That could be the best year for all names involved, including the Laker brand.