After an early playoff exit, the Los Angeles Lakers methodically reconstructed the roster around LeBron James and Anthony Davis. It led the front office to bring aboard a strong veteran presence around the star talent. The Lakers‘ next roster move may see the team add a former All-Star to the frontcourt.
Lakers’ ventures through busy offseason
Since the Lakers bowed out in the first round of the playoffs, the front office has quickly revamped the roster.
Los Angeles began the offseason by acquiring star point guard Russell Westbrook, effectively creating a Big Three. The team then brought several players aboard on veteran’s minimum contracts, such as Carmelo Anthony, Trevor Ariza, Wayne Ellington, Dwight Howard, Malik Monk, and Kent Bazemore.
The Lakers also inked Kendrick Nunn to a two-year, $10 million deal while recently signing Rajon Rondo to a one-year, $2.6 million contract. The front office has methodically restructured the roster with shooting and versatile defenders, hoping to bring balance alongside the star power.
The franchise also elected to ink head coach Frank Vogel to a contract extension. Meanwhile, Los Angeles still possesses a couple of open roster spots, which the franchise is now looking to use on another proven veteran set to hit free agency.
Lakers are hoping to pry away a frontcourt talent from another NBA title contender
As the Lakers fill out their last few roster spots, the team is homing in on specific targets.
After bringing back Rondo on a one-year deal, the front office is reportedly keeping an eye on big man DeAndre Jordan’s situation with the Brooklyn Nets. With the 33-year-old potentially nearing a contract buyout, Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer is reporting that Los Angeles may crop up as his top free-agency landing spot.
The Lakers currently possess two centers under contract with Dwight Howard and Marc Gasol. Jordan isn’t the player he once was, but he’s still proved an effective rebounder and paint presence. He seemingly fell out of favor in Brooklyn last year as he didn’t play in the team’s final 16 games of the regular season and playoffs.
Jordan averaged 7.5 points and 7.2 rebounds in 22.2 minutes per contest over 48 games. The Lakers will likely use him as a reserve off the bench to provide much-needed frontcourt depth. Jordan’s possible arrival may also signal that the team is considering moving on from Gasol.
Reports surfaced this offseason that Gasol’s status in Los Angeles isn’t a guarantee. Nonetheless, it’s a clear signal that the Lakers are hoping to fortify their frontcourt further.
Los Angeles pinned as NBA title favorites
The Lakers‘ game plan this offseason remains fixated on competing for an NBA title.
The allure of contending for a championship allowed Los Angeles to ink seven players to contracts worth $15 million in salary combined. Meanwhile, the outside doubt sits on criticism directed toward the team’s collective age and Westbrook’s fit alongside LeBron James.
The Lakers are banking on the roster buying into the sacrifices necessary to compete for an NBA title.
“I just think it’s about sacrifice,” Howard said during his introductory press conference via Lakers Nation. “What are you willing to give up to get the trophy? And I think everybody on this team has had all the accolades possible, so I think we’re willing to give up anything of ourselves for the betterment of the team.”
“You look at Russ, he has the most triple-doubles in the NBA in history, so why not? Like we said earlier, why not win a championship? He’s done everything else. Carmelo, one of the greatest scorers in basketball history, specifically the greatest scorer in Olympic history, the only thing he doesn’t have is that trophy. So I think he understands also, it’s all about sacrifice.”
Los Angeles’ assortment of talent will experience an adjustment period, but the roster holds the promise of becoming a legitimate championship contender.