The Los Angeles Lakers are now fully committed to the rebuild, with Kobe Bryant retired and the team featuring young talents like D’Angelo Russell, Brandon Ingram, Julius Randle, Jordan Clarkson, and Larry Nance Jr. The team clearly has a long way to go in order to get back to contender status, but with Luke Walton at the helm, they appear to be on the right track.
It’s going to take smart decision-making at every turn and proper navigation of the draft, free agency, and the trade market, which means there will be plenty of action throughout the year.
Here are some of the key dates on the NBA schedule to keep an eye on:
*October 26– Lakers open their 2016-2017 season at home against the Houston Rockets.
*December 15- Most contracts signed during the offseason become eligible to be traded.
*January 5, 2017– 10-day contracts can be signed
*February 17-19– All-Star Weekend in New Orleans
*February 23– Trade deadline at 12 pm PT
*March 1– Playoff eligibility waiver deadline
*April 12– Regular season ends on the road against Golden State Warriors
*April 14– Rosters set for 2017 NBA Playoffs
*April 15– Playoffs begin
*April 23– NBA Draft early entry eligibility deadline
-*May 1– Conference Semifinals begin
*May 9-14– NBA Draft Combine in Chicago
*May 16– NBA Draft Lottery
*June 1– NBA Finals begin
*June 12– NBA Draft early entrant withdrawal deadline
*June 22– NBA Draft
*July 1– Free Agency begins
For the Lakers, the most important dates on this schedule are almost certainly the trade deadline, where they will have to make crucial decisions on trade possibilities, and the draft lottery, which will reveal the fate of their top-3 protected first round pick.
If the basketball gods smile on Los Angeles and allow them to retain their pick, they will also get their 2019 first-round pick back from the Orlando Magic, and will instead send their 2017 and 2018 second-round picks. After that, free agency will give the Lakers the opportunity to give their team a much-needed infusion of talent.