2014 and Beyond
At the end of the 2013 season, everyone comes off the books except for Nash. With all that cap room, the Lakers will look to acquire a star(s) in free agency. Players like LeBron and Carmelo could be available. It’s fun to dream but tough to predict who the Lakers would be able to reel in. It will certainly take some Mitch Kupchak magic to bring in the right superstar for the Lakers’ future.
They’ll try to bring in a star who is ready to compete for a championship with Kobe Bryant, who will be in the twilight of his career. This is assuming that Kobe agrees to come back for $10-$12M per year.
Another way the Lakers will look to improve is through the draft. Unfortunately, the Lakers don’t have many draft picks in the upcoming years:
- 2014 – Owe second-rounder to Minnesota Timberwolves (Steve Nash, Wesley Johnson).
- 2015 – Owe first-rounder (top-five protected) to Phoenix Suns (Steve Nash).
- 2015 – Owe second-rounder (top-40 protected) to Orlando Magic (Dwight Howard).
- 2017 – Owe first-rounder (top-five protected, otherwise converts to 2017 and 2018 second-rounders) to Orlando Magic (Dwight Howard).
With their lone first round draft pick in the 2014 Draft, the Lakers will look to add a solid young player from what is predicted to be a very strong draft class. Another way the Lakers could add draft picks is to trade players for them. For example, if the Lakers choose to trade Gasol before the season is over, they should seek to acquire a 2014 1st or 2nd round pick. Currently, draft picks are a bit overvalued, so it may be tough for the Lakers to swing Gasol for picks.
The Lakers sure have their work cut out for them. This upcoming season will sift the true Lakers fans from the bandwagoners since it’ll likely be a down year. For the Lakers fans that are left after a trying 2013 season, they’ll have to rely on Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak’s leadership to rebuild the team starting in June 2014.
It can’t be overstated how pivotal the 2014 offseason will be. The future of the franchise hinges on it. No one can know exactly how that will turn out, but one can only hope that the Lakers make the right moves to become championship contenders once more.
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