Predicted Lakers bench:
PG: Dennis Schroder | 2023-2024 Opening Night Age: 30 | 2023-2024 Salary: $5.3 Million
Q: Couldn’t Dennis get more money elsewhere in free agency?
A: Fool him once, shame on you. Fool him twice, shame on him. Schroder has been rock solid on both ends for the team this season and has delivered some big performances in crucial games when some of the stars were out.
With that much being stated, Schroder and his family seem to have grown to love the Los Angeles area. With the Lakers most likely looking to be a taxpayer again next season, the Mid Level Exception should be enough to coax him away from outside suitors.
SG: Malik Beasley | 2023-2024 Opening Night Age: 26 | 2023-2024 Salary: $16.5 Million
Q: Could the front office look to trade Beas this offseason?
A: Beasley has had his moments since joining the team, but has been wildly streaky and inconsistent. He is shooting just over 37% from the field and just under 33% from deep. Regardless, his mere presence on the court creates a lot of space, and he is going to shoot the ball with confidence regardless of what his percentages look like.
With a team option for next season, he could actually be a sneaky trade candidate this offseason if Pelinka believes there may be a big play to make. That is something to keep an eye on, but we should be safe to assume he is back for at least another campaign.
SF: Troy Brown Jr | 2023-2024 Opening Night Age: 23 | 2023-2024 Salary: $1.8 Million
Q: Couldn’t TBJ also get more money elsewhere in free agency?
A: There is no mistaking the amount of value that the Lakers have gotten out of Troy Brown Jr’s minimum deal this year. As a 6’6″versatile wing that can shoot at a league-average clip from 3, assuredly he will receive some interest as a 23-year-old on the open market this summer. While he has been solid all season, he has not been spectacular and should not be expecting a significant pay raise coming.
A wise move could be going the Malik Monk route to try to showcase a second season of progress in order to secure a larger payday. Plus, he could easily factor himself into the Lakers’ overall future plans with another season of growth.
PF: Rui Hachimura | 2023-2024 Opening Night Age: 25 | 2023-2024 Salary: $10 Million
Q: Is Rui a core piece of the future?
A: While he has not been magnificent since coming over from Washington in January, he has been provided a steady source of secondary scoring. His shooting from outside could use some work, but his midrange game combined with his sturdiness on defense make the (dare I say) Kawhi Leonard comparisons rational.
He may receive heftier offers, but he would be wise to stick as the potential successor to LeBron in the frontcourt. Something along the lines of a 1+1 (player option) could make sense for both sides.
C: Mo Bamba | 2023-2024 Opening Night Age: 24 | 2023-2024 Salary: $10.3 Million
Q: Can Bamba be counted on for consistently reliable minutes in the frontcourt?
A: Unfortunately, we may not see Bamba for the rest of the season due to injury. While this is unfortunate in terms of Bamba not being able to contribute to the team on the court the rest of the regular season, it is equally unfortunate in terms of the front office not getting a great grasp of how (or if) he fits into the future plans.
A former top-10 pick, Bamba’s contract is non-guaranteed for next season, meaning the team could simply cut him before the end of June to avoid his salary being counted against their cap space. He did not get a ton of minutes in the time that he did play thus far, but his potential alone should be enough to support giving him another season to show what he can do. A big man that can hit outside shots will always be a hot commodity.