For the second consecutive season, the Los Angeles Lakers are headed to the NBA Draft Lottery as they are near the bottom of the standings with a 12-30 record. With the Lakers losing Julius Randle and Steve Nash to season-ending injuries by the opener against the Houston Rockets, the team is currently figuring out a plan on how to ‘preserve’ Kobe Bryant for what will likely be the final two seasons of his career.
During his visit to London, Kareem talked about the current state of the Lakers as they head into an important off-season with the German website, Crossover via Google Translate:
It is a difficult time for them. The injuries of Kobe [Bryant] and [Steve] Nash; the possible loss of the outstanding draft options – it is therefore difficult to acquire new players material for them. The only way to gain access to new players for the team, would be the free-agent market, but is also problematic. It will simply take time. You need to make the right decisions at the draft and watch that good players are brought in to make it worthwhile to build a team around.
Heading into the 2015 off-season, the Lakers have an opportunity to turn themselves back into championship contenders. The franchise is projected to have as much as $30 million in cap space to pursue big-name free agents such as Marc Gasol, Greg Monroe, Jimmy Butler, Goran Dragic and Reggie Jackson. In addition, the Lakers may potentially have a top-five pick in this year’s draft that is expected to feature Jahlil Okafor from Duke University.
While there are likely three months left in the 2014-15 season, all the focus is on Kobe Bryant. After playing major minutes in the first quarter of the season, Kobe has not been able to recover following games at age 36. As a result, head coach Byron Scott has limited his minutes and has sat him out of games when necessary.[divide]
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