The Los Angeles Lakers are entering the offseason intending to improve the roster. The Lakers want to maximize the NBA title window behind LeBron James and Anthony Davis. All that has quickly guided the franchise to eye a specified skillset to pair alongside James and Davis.
Lakers fall well short of NBA title contention
The Lakers entered this past season eyeing a second straight NBA title, a feat the franchise hasn’t accomplished in over a decade.
Los Angeles’ hopes of reaching that lofty goal quickly became hampered by injuries as the team limped through the 2020-21 campaign. It featured Anthony Davis missing two months due to a calf injury related to an Achilles issue. Meanwhile, James missed more than six weeks after suffering a right high ankle sprain.
The two stars managed to return before the playoffs, but neither fully recovered from the ailments. Davis suffered a groin injury in Game 4 of the first-round series against the Phoenix Suns that put the nail in the coffin for the Lakers’ repeat chances.
As the organization ventures into the offseason, the front office has singled out the desired roster addition.
Lakers remain fixated on adding 1 specific skillset alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis
The Lakers’ playoff shortcomings move the organization toward a critical offseason where roster construction will be the central focus.
The growing expectation is that the Lakers will first address the backcourt situation due to the inconsistent play last year, especially after injuries to James and Davis. In a recent newsletter, Marc Stein of The New York Times reported that Los Angeles is looking for another playmaking player to pair alongside their stars.
“Word is that the Lakers, on top of their well-chronicled need for more shooting, covet one more difference-making playmaker who would allow James and Davis to spend more time at power forward and center,” Stein wrote.
The Lakers are eyeing another player that can create offense to lessen the offensive workload for Davis and James. Los Angeles initially hoped Dennis Schroder could fit that bill, but his inconsistent play didn’t enthuse the team. Reports emerged that some within the organization were frustrated with his playing style.
Stein’s report only further underlines that the front office will explore other options aside from Schroder. He’s certainly a fall-back plan, but the team wants to see what other backcourt talent is available. Players such as Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, and Spencer Dinwiddie fit the bill while each has been previously linked to the organization for the last several months.
Los Angeles holds a clear-cut game plan to make concerted efforts to revamp the roster around James and Davis.
Los Angeles holds several critical roster decisions ahead
As the Lakers navigate through the offseason, it will begin with the team’s talent hitting free agency.
Los Angeles only has five players under contract through next season with James, Davis, Kyle Kuzma, Marc Gasol, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. Beyond that, the organization must determine who they value enough to bring back into the fold with Schroder, Andre Drummond, Talen Horton-Tucker, Alex Caruso, Markieff Morris, and Wesley Matthew venturing into the open market.
The front office’s decision-making with that group will dictate how the team approaches the offseason. Early reports suggest Los Angeles will add shooting along with a strong backcourt presence. The front office will strengthen the frontcourt to keep Davis from gathering too much wear and tear.
The game plan is simple for the Lakers by focusing on building a championship-contending roster around their star talent. Injuries played a prominent factor last season, but the team needs a strong supporting cast around James and Davis to return to competing for an NBA title.
All that said, expect the Lakers to be quite busy restructuring the roster in the coming months.