The great weather, sandy beaches, beautiful people, A-list Hollywood crowd and flashy night life of Los Angeles have always been selling points to free agents for the Lakers.
In addition, the Lakers have an owner that has shown willingness to open his pocket book to acquire the necessary talent to field a championship contending team.
Just this past season the Lakers extended Kobe Bryant’s contract and resigned Derek Fisher, Shannon Brown and Lamar Odom to lucrative deals despite being over the cap by utilizing the Bird Rights exception which allows teams over the cap to resign their own players. Under a hard cap however, no longer will Dr. Buss be able to resign his own free agents to lucrative contracts with no regard for the salary cap rules as the current CBA allows.
Dr. Buss will also not be able to pick up a free agent with a yearly salary exception, such as Matt Barnes and Steve Blake this past year, to fill holes of the team if the Laker’s team salary is at the limit. Instead, he will have to stand pat or make trades in an attempt to improve the team.
Talent evaluation and the ability to mesh the correct mix of players together on a roster will move to the forefront as the most important traits of an organization.
This might not be the Lakers’ strong point.
The acquisition of Vladimir Radmanovic and long term contract of Luke Walton bring to question some of the personal decisions that have been made over the years by the Laker brass.
These moves did not hinder the Lakers’ championship chances because the Lakers compiled enough talent throughout the roster to make up for any deficiencies in those few personal decisions that went astray.
In a hard cap world the Lakers won’t have a surplus of talent or ability to absorb a bad contract and just make up for it with another free agent signing the following year because there just wont be any room in their budget.
A team that misses on a high draft pick or decides to provide a lucrative contract to a free agent who doesn’t pan out will cripple a franchise and set them back for years to come; the Lakers will be no exception.
The resulting effect will be a more even distribution of talent around the league creating an equal opportunity league. The days of dynasties like the Lakers would likely be over and the uprising of small markets like Milwaukee and Cleveland could soon rise to the elite of the NBA.
An NBA hard cap will officially put an end to those advantages enjoyed by the Lakers all these decades and place them on a level playing field with the rest of the NBA teams.