The Los Angeles Lakers are heading into an early offseason after a disappointing first-round playoff exit. The Lakers have quickly shifted gears toward constructing a roster that can compete for another NBA title. The franchise will venture through that path with a bit of help from LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
Lakers fall to a frustrating early playoff exit
The Lakers went through a busy offseason before the 2020-21 season, hoping to compete for another NBA title.
However, Los Angeles struggled with injuries and inconsistent play from the supporting cast, effectively derailing another deep playoff push. James and Davis each missed significant time and experienced physical limitations upon returning to the floor.
Despite grabbing a 2-1 series lead over the Phoenix Suns, Davis’ groin injury and the supporting cast’s production shortcoming led to a first-round playoff exit. As the Lakers head into the offseason, the front office has already laid out a game plan to build the roster around its two star players.
Lakers will unsurprisingly turn to LeBron James and Anthony Davis for roster decisions
The Lakers fell short of contending for a second straight NBA title, pushing the franchise toward a crucial offseason.
Los Angeles benefits from possessing two elite talents, with James and Davis as the centerpieces of the roster. During his season exit interview, general manager Rob Pelinka emphasized that the two stars will play a substantial part in helping shape the rest of the team.
“I think when it comes to roster building, you guys know we’ve been very collaborative,” Pelinka said via Silver Screen and Roll. “Anthony Davis and LeBron James are championship pillars of this franchise for years to come and of course, they’re going to be involved in how we build our roster and how we have built our roster. (They are) both great basketball minds, and Frank (Vogel) as well.”
The front office maintains the final say, but the collaborative nature of the decision-making process keeps everyone on the same page. It’s a strategy Pelinka has routinely used to construct the roster since James chose to sign with the Lakers, and it helped the team acquire Davis.
Since taking over as general manager, he’s embraced the collective approach regarding constructing the roster. Pelinka utilizes all the resources he has around him, including James, Davis, and head coach Frank Vogel. Beyond that, it lays down the notion that whatever decisions the franchise settles on will have significant input from its two stars.
Los Angeles faces a pivotal offseason ahead
Pelinka’s comments further underline the crucial offseason that will shape the next chapter of James’ career in Los Angeles.
The Lakers will operate with the star forward’s best interest in mind as he and Davis are the centerpieces toward contending for another NBA title. However, the supporting cast around them will play an essential part in lifting the franchise forward.
Pelinka must decide whether to bring back much of the same group or swing for the fences to construct a largely new supporting cast. Key pieces such as Dennis Schroder, Andre Drummond, Talen Horton-Tucker, and Alex Caruso will hit the free-agent market.
Montrezl Harrell may also elect to decline his $9.7 million player option to garner a fresh opportunity elsewhere. Meanwhile, the team may explore trade scenarios to see what offers Kyle Kuzma can fetch.
The Lakers may not have tremendous financial flexibility, but the franchise will use every bit of that room to construct a championship-contending roster.