The Los Angeles Lakers fell well short of contending for a second consecutive NBA championship. The playoff shortcomings send the Lakers barrelling toward a critical offseason where much roster change may lie ahead. It’s guided the conversation toward revealing the Lakers‘ approach to trade scenarios.
Lakers are eyeing considerable roster changes
The Lakers entered this past season hoping to make a serious push toward a second straight NBA title.
However, the injury bug and inconsistent play from the supporting cast around LeBron James and Anthony Davis led to a first-round playoff exit. Los Angeles moves into the offseason looking to vastly improve the roster that may see several new players in a purple and gold uniform alongside James and Davis.
As the rumor mill continues to heat up, the Lakers may have already tipped its hand regarding trade package offers to other teams.
Lakers’ trade rumblings are showing signs of desperation
The Lakers are entering the offseason with limited resources to improve the roster around its star power.
Los Angeles currently possesses only five players under contract before free agency starts next month that consists of James, Davis, Kyle Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and Marc Gasol. As the front office ramps up the search for backcourt help, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski recently revealed on the Woj & Lowe Show that the franchise offered Kuzma and Caldwell-Pope to every team spoken to regarding a trade.
“They have literally offered Kyle Kuzma and KCP to almost—almost every team I’ve talked to in the league has been offered some combination of Kuz and KCP. Sometimes both of them, one of them. That’s not going to get them back a point guard of Dennis’ stature.”
The Lakers are unhappy with how Schroder’s first campaign unfolded as he struggled to provide stability. It’s led the front office to offer the two most significant trade pieces outside James and Davis.
Kuzma is entering the first year of his three-year, $39 million deal that will pay him $13 million next season. Meanwhile, Caldwell-Pope is moving into the second year of his three-year, $39.1 million contract that he’s scheduled to make roughly $13 million in the 2021-22 campaign.
However, the league-wide appeal for both players is diminished due to their playoff struggles that make their respective deals more difficult to move. If the Lakers manage to secure a trade, expect Caldwell-Pope and Kuzma to remain prominent pieces of any offer.
Los Angeles will have several offseason options
The Lakers may not have much to offer in a trade scenario, but the franchise will exercise all options to improve the roster.
Los Angeles will swing for the fences toward acquiring Russell Westbrook or Chris Paul. However, the pathway toward either of those players remains difficult at best, but it’s clear the Lakers want to return to competing for another NBA title.
The organization is also linked to Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, Spencer Dinwiddie, Collin Sexton, and Lonzo Ball. Each of those possibilities will require a sign-and-trade or significant pay cut for the Lakers to add considerable talent. Before the front office heads down that route, it must first address the future of several of its free agents.
Los Angeles will have to decide on the futures of Schroder, Andre Drummond, Talen Horton-Tucker, Alex Caruso, and Wesley Matthews. Big man Montrezl Harrell also holds a $9.7 million player option for next season. Ultimately, it may be the team’s decision on Schroder that will dictate how the entire offseason unfolds ahead.
Contract figures courtesy of Spotrac.