The 2019-20 NBA season may currently be suspended while the world tries to get the coronavirus under control, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t still work to be done.
On this episode of the Lakers Nation Podcast, host Trevor Lane and company discuss the efforts of head coach Frank Vogel, who is finding ways to prepare his team for the eventual 2020 NBA playoffs even though no games are being played.
Vogel and his staff have been diving into game footage of potential playoff opponents, hoping to find an edge. Meanwhile, they also have been taking a look at their own offensive and defensive sets, figuring out where they can improve. It’s not the same as being out on the practice floor, but at least they are finding ways to make the team better when games do resume.
Additionally, with games shut down, the league’s salary cap could present an unexpected challenge. With basketball-related income declining, a likewise decreasing salary cap could create a difficult market in the 2020 NBA offseason when players like Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, JaVale McGee, Anthony Davis, Rajon Rondo, and others have player options on their contracts that would allow them to hit free agency.
If they decide to put off free agency for another season by opting into their deals (which now appears to be a likely decision), what would that mean for the Lakers? How much would keeping largely the same group together next season help them? Would Davis really consider postponing free agency for another season?
Speaking of which, should Davis still opt-out despite the less-than-ideal salary cap situation? While the long-term security could be attractive, a lower contact could — in theory — change the amount of money the Lakers would have available in 2021 NBA free agency and beyond.
Plus, if and when the NBA season returns, it will almost certainly extend it, perhaps even through the end of the summer. The domino effect of the current season lasting so long is that it could push the 2020-21 season back, leading to a later start date.
If that happens, it could present an opportunity to permanently move the NBA’s season back with Christmas acting as the start date and the season running through August. They break down the pros and cons of such a scenario and more on this episode.