The Los Angeles Lakers have now missed the playoffs for four straight seasons, and the front office, led by Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka, wants that streak to end next season. With the team struggling and superstar guard Kobe Bryant retired for a full year now, fans are growing anxious as they wait for the Lakers to return to the top of the NBA mountain.
Los Angeles does have some intriguing young pieces, such as D’Angelo Russell, Brandon Ingram, Ivica Zubac, and Julius Randle, but so far none have made the leap to superstardom. That could lead the Lakers to make some aggressive moves this offseason in order to right the ship. Rookie center Zubac, who spoke with the press after his exit interview, described the goals that Johnson and Pelinka expressed to him (via Lakers Nation reporter Serena Winters):
Asked Zubac if Magic/Rob gave him clear sense of team vision: "Next year, we want to go to playoffs, cant have anymore season like this."
— Serena Winters (@SerenaWinters) April 13, 2017
The Lakers will definitely feel the pressure to perform next season. Randle will be on the final year of his rookie deal, and the following year Russell will be up for a new deal, which means that the front office will have to decide whether or not their young players are trade chips or part of a future core that can lead them back to the promised land.
Of course, Los Angeles also doesn’t know whether or not they will have their top-three protected draft pick until after the May 16th lottery, which it will be a major factor in the moves that are available this summer. Regardless, we can expect Pelinka and Johnson to be aggressive, so it should be an eventful offseason for a Lakers team that badly wants to get back into the playoffs.