Lakers offseason preview: How will Los Angeles shape the roster around LeBron James, Anthony Davis?
There will be a new NBA champion this season.
The Suns knocked out the Lakers Thursday night with a 113-100 victory in Game 6 of their first-round series, ending an injury-ridden season for Los Angeles. LeBron James, Anthony Davis and the rest of the squad will get a well-deserved rest this summer, but the front office work has only just begun.
How will Los Angeles general manager Rob Pelinka handle the 2021 offseason and position the Lakers to be contenders again?
Let’s take a look at some of the big decisions he has to make.
Lakers offseason preview: agency free
|Alex Caruso||Costas Antetokounmpo||Montrezl Harrell (player)|
|André Drummond||Devontae Cacok|
|Jared dudley||Talen Horton-Tucker|
James and Davis signed at least until the 2022-2023 season, so the foundation is in place. As James told reporters during his media availability for Game 6, he and Davis will have conversations with Pelinka about the supporting cast.
“I think Rob has done a great job building this team over the past few years, and he will continue to do so,” Jacques said. “I’ll have a contribution. He always asks for my contribution, asks for AD’s contribution. But at the end of the day, we want to keep improving.”
Apart from James and Davis, only Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Kyle Kuzma and Marc Gasol have guaranteed contracts for 2021-22. Assuming those five players stay on the roster, the Lakers would already have over $ 100 million in wages.
Since Los Angeles will be limited in terms of ceiling space, Pelinka needs to know who he’s re-signing and who he’s letting go, starting with Schroder. 27 year old man would have refused an $ 84 million four-year extension offer earlier in the season, but he certainly doesn’t look like a guy who wants to leave.
“The Lakers, they didn’t do anything to me. They’re awesome,” Schröder said. “They have the two best players in the league. Everyone in the locker room is great. At the end of the day, I want to be here and win a championship. It’s not even a question. It wasn’t a question. money … of course you want to be fair. At the end of the day, it’s not all about the money for me and my family. In the end, if all goes well, we will come back and win the championship next year. “
Schroder tops the Lakers’ list given their lack of guard depth, but it will also be worth watching how they run Caruso’s free agency. He doesn’t produce mind-blowing stats, but he’s been a big contributor on the bench and is an underrated part of the team’s elite defense. Some league leaders estimate Caruso may be able to earn “over $ 12 million in average annual value”, by Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report, who noted that Lakers officials believe Caruso “had better stay in Los Angeles to compete alongside [James]. “
As for the front area, it looks like Drummond won’t be just a rental. ESPN’s Dave McMenamin said that the double All-Star is “part of the future with this franchise”. Harrell’s status is less clear. He was a key cog on the bench during the regular season, but saw his minutes disappear in the first round. He might look for a better deal outside of Los Angeles.
Beyond the current roster, the Lakers will have limited options due to their financial situation. A signing and a trade can’t be completely ruled out, but Pelinka would have to get creative to land a real difference maker.
Lakers offseason preview: 2021 NBA draft
Following Davis’ trade, the Lakers owe the Pelicans their 2022 and 2024 first-round picks. New Orleans also has the right to trade first-round picks with Los Angeles in 2023 and 2025.
But hey, at least the Lakers can do whatever they want with their selection this year. If Pelinka doesn’t pack Global Pick # 22 as part of a trade, here are some possibilities based on recent drafts:
Dosunmu could be a solid addition to the squad if he’s still on the board when the Lakers are on the clock. The Illinois star is an older prospect who fills a need for custody and may just slip in alongside James and Davis.