The Los Angeles Lakers fell well short of vying for a second straight NBA title. It sends the franchise toward a critical offseason where considerable roster decisions lie ahead. As the Lakers head into the pivotal stretch, the front office’s potential path toward landing All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry just became more difficult.
Lakers hoping to revamp the roster
The Lakers‘ chances of securing a second consecutive NBA title became derailed due to injury and inconsistent play.
Los Angeles’ playoff shortcomings demonstrated the need for some significant roster changes as the supporting cast around LeBron James and Anthony Davis struggled to pick up the slack. It quickly moves the front office to consider various options to revamp the roster to return to championship contention.
However, the pathway toward adding a star backcourt talent has become increasingly more challenging after the latest rumblings.
Kyle Lowry just created a massive financial hurdle for the Lakers
Since the Lakers bowed out of the playoffs, the team remains linked to several potential backcourt options.
One of which is Kyle Lowry, who will become an unrestricted free agent. Los Angeles holds a previous connection to the All-Star guard after attempting to acquire him before this past season’s trade deadline. Recent rumors detailed the team may try to land the 35-year-old to fortify the supporting cast around James and Davis.
However, it appears that the potential path became more difficult after a report from Matt Moore of Action Network stated the star guard’s deciding factor in free agency would hinge on the contract he’s offered.
“There was some assumption from league sources that Lowry would be chasing a second ring in free agency,” Moore wrote. “But while playoff or prospective playoff teams make up the list of suitors, the new operating assumption is that money will be the deciding factor for Lowry. There will be no ring chasing under a minimum deal, in other words.”
If the reporting is spot on, it puts the Lakers into a bit of a bind as the team can only offer a $9.5 million mid-level exception salary for next season. At the same time, the front office was expected to pursue a sign-and-trade to present a much larger contract. It would entail offloading contracts such as Kyle Kuzma and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.
Los Angeles can still pursue Lowry, but another team such as the New York Knicks or Philadelphia 76ers can swoop in to offer a bigger deal to secure his services. Time will tell, but it at least gives the Lakers a clear idea of what it will take to land him.
Los Angeles will explore other backcourt options
As much as the Lakers would like to acquire Lowry, the team may have other feasible backcourt options.
DeMar DeRozan could become a potential piece, as he voiced in a recent interview with the Club Shay Shay podcast that he’s interested in joining his hometown team. DeRozan also doubled down on the reported notion that he may take a pay cut to increase his chances of competing for an NBA title.
“You’d love to have the opportunity to play at home, especially if they want you, why not?,” DeRozan said. “I think it would work [between me, LeBron & AD]. We’re smart basketball players and it’s all about coming together.”
Meanwhile, players such as Spencer Dinwiddie, Lonzo Ball, or Collin Sexton may emerge as realistic backcourt upgrades. The front office is focused on constructing a well-balanced team, putting adding a proven playmaker offense atop the list.
Los Angeles isn’t averse to making a big splash acquisition, but it may be a flurry of smaller moves that helps construct a championship contender.