Lakers News: Rob Pelinka To Prioritize Roster Continuity & Keeping Core Together This Offseason
Rob Pelinka, Lakers
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers’ whirlwind season concluded with a loss in the Western Conference Finals against the Denver Nuggets on Monday night. A last-second effort from LeBron James wasn’t enough to push the series to a fifth game with the Lakers ultimately being swept for the ninth time ever.

General manager Rob Pelinka and the Lakers front office have an important summer ahead. The sudden news of LeBron contemplating retirement creates a heavy cloud over any plans. But, regardless, Pelinka will have to make a decision with only four players — James, Anthony Davis, Jarred Vanderbilt and Max Christie — under contract for next season.

Ten players will be free agents, two of which include restricted free agents Austin Reaves and Rui Hachimura. The Lakers reportedly expect to match any offers for those two players. Key playoff rotational players Dennis Schroder, Lonnie Walker IV and D’Angelo Russell are all free agents. Decisions also need to be made on Troy Brown Jr. and Wenyen Gabriel, who were staples of the regular season rotation, plus a team option on Malik Beasley.

The trades later in the season added more continuity to the roster. Pelinka said keeping that continuity will be a point of emphasis during the offseason.

“We’re incredibly proud of this group. Obviously to get to the Western Conference Finals. I think after the trade deadline we had one of the top records in the league,” he said. “I think keeping that continuity is going to be very important. We ultimately got knocked out by a team that has great continuity. They got a group of players that have been together for several seasons and it shows in the way they play.

“But, that’s a high priority for us. We feel like we’ve got a group of special players in the locker room, they enjoy playing with each other. Darvin enjoys coaching them. We know that there’s more growth and improvement in that group, especially if we get a training camp together. So I would say that’s a high priority to keep our core players together.”

Retaining Reaves and Hachimura will be of high importance for the Lakers, especially after the playoff run they both had. Reaves averaged 17 points per game and 44% shooting from deep. Hachimura averaged 12 points per game on an efficient 55% from the field. Both players were also imperative in the Lakers having one of the top defenses in the playoffs.

Pelinka’s decision to prioritize continuity is a far cry from recent Lakers history. Coming into the season only 5 players remained from the previous season. LeBron and Davis are the last players left from the 2020 Championship winning team.

The last two offseasons have included major roster shuffling. It looks like that won’t be the case this summer, at least, for now.

L.A. considering trade for Trae Young

The best way to ignore continuity is to unload the roster and swing for a trade. After the Lakers’ season-ending loss in Game 4, it was reported that L.A. has considered trading for Atlanta Hawks’ guard Trae Young so that will be something to monitor this offseason.

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