The LA Lakers wasted no time in adjusting their roster this offseason despite coming off an NBA title. The Lakers have made it quite clear that they are aiming for a second straight championship. Before that campaign can begin, the front office has another roster decision to address first.
The Lakers put forth a big offseason
The Lakers may be coming off their first NBA title in a decade, but they haven’t wasted any time in reshaping their roster this offseason.
General manager Rob Pelinka has quickly retooled the team with eyes directly toward contending for another championship. LA lost Rajon Rondo, Dwight Howard, and Avery Bradley in free agency but added proven pieces to the mix.
LA swung a trade for runner-up Sixth Man of the Year Dennis Schroder that moved guard Danny Green. The Lakers followed that in free agency with some significant moves that saw them re-sign Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Markieff Morris. Meanwhile, the team brought aboard reigning Sixth Man of the Year Montrezl Harrell, former All-Star big man Marc Gasol and veteran swingman Wesley Matthews.
The expectation is that star forward Anthony Davis will re-sign before the start of next season. Davis is weighing his contract options that will be telling of his game plan moving forward with the team.
The franchise has constructed another veteran-laden roster that has its fan base excited about the upcoming season. Before the Lakers reach that point, the team has a massive decision ahead.
Massive decision ahead with Kyle Kuzma
The Lakers have spent much of the abbreviated offseason putting together their roster to compete for another NBA title.
These moves have shifted to the back burners another pressing situation involving forward Kyle Kuzma. The Utah product is heading into the final year of his four-year, $8.6 million deal, which he is eligible for a contract extension with a Dec. 21 deadline.
Despite the continued trade rumors around Kuzma, general manager Rob Pelinka has spoken favorably about him. The 25-year-old struggled in his role off the bench last season as he averaged 12.8 points while shooting 31.6% from 3-point range.
His performance varied throughout the season and continued into the playoffs as he averaged 10.0 points on 31.3% from 3-point range. His struggles have led to fans expressing their desire to move on from the veteran forward. Meanwhile, the Lakers have remained a bit headstrong with keeping him in the fold.
There isn’t any indication regarding the Lakers moving toward an extension as market value looks to be around $10 million annually. Other comparable players such as Paul Milsap ($10 million), Rodney Hood ($10.4 million), Jae Crowder ($9.7 million), and Serge Ibaka ($9.4 million) received around that mark in free agency.
There isn’t any rush as the Lakers can make a $5.2 million qualifying offer next offseason to make him a restricted free agent and match any offer sheet.
Focus remains on NBA title contention
The Lakers continue to take a methodical approach to the offseason with their sole focus on winning a championship next season.
The future beyond that remains a bit uncertain, but the pieces are in place for the franchise to compete for another NBA title. The shortened offseason could have an early impact on the team’s performance. However, the roster is full of veteran talent that can guide them through any rough waters.
The loss of big man Dwight Howard could have some impact defensively, but the team has adjusted their frontcourt situation to be more well-rounded, with Marc Gasol likely taking that starting spot. Meanwhile, Montrezl Harrell should play a significant role off the bench with his scoring next to Dennis Schroder.
There is still much to figure out with on-and-off court chemistry with the newly added players, but the Lakers are in a promising position yet again.