With the season winding down, it’s the fans looking forward to future seasons. The best way to look at this is to see what opportunities for the Lakers up ahead.
So, what’s coming up?
- The Lakers have a lottery pick for the 2014 draft.
- Total team cap should be just over $35,000,000.
- Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant, and Robert Sacre are guaranteed to be on the team.
Things aren’t looking so good. Compared to other lottery teams, the Lakers are starting on a lower floor.
The Philadelphia 76ers are in a better situation.
- The 76ers have two lottery picks, one possibly in the top-3, the other, late in the lottery.
- The 76ers have four 2nd-round picks.
- Total team cap is just under $27,000,000
- Thaddeus Young, Nerlens Noel, Michael Carter-Williams, Tony Wroten, and Arnett Moultrie are guaranteed.
The Orlando Magic are in a better situation as well.
- The Orlando Magic have one pick in the lottery, and one pick in the mid-1st round.
- Total team cap is just under $36,000,000.
- Nikolas Vucevic, Tobias Harris, Victor Oladipo, Aaron Afflalo, Mo Harkless, and Andrew Nicholson are all guaranteed through next season.
While two lottery teams were chosen, it’s obvious that other teams have great, young talent on rookie scale contracts. Guys like Nerlens Noel, Michael Carter-Williams, Victor Oladipo, Nikolas Vucevic, Tobias Harris, and Mo Harkless are all players with upside, looking to improve and look past their rookie scale contracts for proper extensions.
The Lakers, don’t have that luxury. This season was a band-aid full of veteran minimum players leading up to their peak. All of them were looking for some career revival. Some have earned it, while others want to stay with the franchise and improve. Those veterans don’t have upside as high.
There are large question marks surrounding the Laker team. Do they rebuild from scratch? Who will coach next year? What Kobe Bryant will the Lakers see next year? Is Pau Gasol returning?
The injuries of this season have decimated the franchise so much, that playoff contention is an afterthought to rebuilding the franchise. The lottery pick of 2014 has been more of a hot topic than competing against the tough teams of the Western Conference. Anyone else pay attention to the schedule for the last two weeks of the regular season? For whatever reason, the Lakers make a post All-Star run leading up to the playoffs for better position. The amount of position changing for playoff position seems infinite considering how many Western Conference Playoff contenders play the Lakers during the last two weeks.
Even worse, Laker fans are banking on Los Angeles as the top destination in the NBA world. Don’t get me wrong, it is. The weather, Hollywood, and all of the perks are huge advantages over other major cities. But, as a basketball destination, it is no longer #1. Mitch Kupchak is the face of the entire franchise, but stays private. The Lakers franchise player, Kobe Bryant, doesn’t like Mike D’Antoni‘s coaching methods. The Lakers are not in the playoffs. What’s worse? They don’t have many opportunities to fix the team within one year. The team is banking on previous glory to lure free agents.
Time heals everything. The Lakers need more time. The free agency period of 2015 and 2016 allows the Lakers a new start. By then, Kobe Bryant will be retired. The Lakers can start from the ground up. Hopefully, by then, Jim Buss becomes more of a public figure and makes the right decisions that works for the franchise. Maybe Jeanie Buss will participate more with basketball decisions.
The Lakers, just need more time.
Team salary information found by http://hoopshype.com/.