The LA Lakers finally got back on top of the mountaintop after topping the Miami Heat in six games. The Lakers were guided by the impressive play from their star duo of LeBron James and Anthony Davis through a dominant playoff run. It has also lined the franchise up for some significant decisions in the upcoming offseason. Here are a few areas the team must address to compete for another NBA title next season.
Anthony Davis is at the top of the list
Above all else, the Lakers’ most significant decision will come with addressing their contractual standing with star forward Anthony Davis.
The expectation is that Davis will elect to test the free-agent market by opting out of the final year of his contract. The 27-year-old brushed aside the chatter throughout the season, but the rumor mill maintained the belief he will re-sign with the Lakers.
That notion has garnered firm footing after Davis helped guide LA to an NBA title. He has demonstrated tremendous chemistry playing alongside LeBron James while the two have found championship success. Davis will have his free agency options, but it’s hard to believe he will walk away from running it back with James under a new deal.
The only question remains is the contract’s length as the star big man may be more apt to take a shorter deal. That could put a two or three-year contract on the table as the likely route taken in the situation.
Cap space for more talent
Following the acquisition of Anthony Davis last season, the talk around the Lakers centered on getting another star talent.
That briefly saw Kawhi Leonard being an option, but he passed them up for the LA Clippers. The Lakers responded by filling their roster with a strong veteran presence. It worked in their favor as the team’s collective supporting cast around their star forwards proved to be enough. However, the Lakers are expected to have plenty of financial flexibility in the offseason.
There will be players interested in joining the mix to help provide the extra boost to compete for another NBA title. That could be quite crucial to extending LeBron James’ elite production on the court as he enters the second half of his 30s later this year.
The Lakers will have their options in free agency that could see them add more shooting and frontcourt depth.
Retaining their veteran presence
Throughout the Lakers’ impressive run to an NBA title, their veteran presence was a huge factor in their success.
That alone will make retaining their core group alongside James and Davis high on the list. LA has several players with team options for next season, such as Kentavious Caldwell-Pope ($8.5 million), JaVale McGee ($4.2 million), Rajon Rondo ($2.6 million), and Avery Bradley ($5 million). Those decisions are out of their hands, but the opportunity to run it back to compete for another title should be enough to retain their core group.
Dwight Howard’s situation will be interesting as he has proven his worth well beyond his one-year, $2.5 million contract this past season. He will have his options in free agency that could lure him away. The Lakers will likely work hard to keep him in the fold, given his value to their frontcourt as a highly reliable defensive presence, rebounder, and scoring factor in the paint.
Many big decisions lie ahead of the Lakers, but all that should see team primed to compete for another title next season.