Authors of a pathetic season that made them the laughing stock of the league, the Lakers have only one option for the 2022-2023 campaign: bounce back. An arduous task, which will go above all through 5 crucial points to be settled. Without that, there’s no point in wanting to claim the ring again…
The Lakers had a humiliating season, we won’t teach you anything by writing it. Almost everything has been said about the fiasco in recent days, and the time has come to look to the future. The mission is as simple to say as it is complicated to put in place: to make the Angelinos a real contender for the title again. But with a very poorly constructed roster, where Russell Westbrook sands more than 45 million annually, the room for maneuver is very meager. Hence the need to treat, and quickly, the vital emergencies below.
1. Keeping LeBron James and Anthony Davis
Cornerstone of the coronation of 2020 in the bubble, the Davis / James duo has had mixed fortunes this season. If LeBron impressed the world with his performance despite an increasingly fragile body, AD disappointed, both in his level of play and his inability to stay healthy while in his prime. However, the two men must be the base of the purple and gold version 2022-23. So at the time when Davis ponders his futurea priority: to keep them both in Los Angeles.
2. Get rid of Russell Westbrook
Besides LeBron and AD’s situation, this is the top priority in the City of Angels. Isolated from the locker room, overpaid and disappointing, Westbrook must leave the Lakers this summer. Only one question remains for the one who must receive 47 million dollars next year: how? A trade is possible, as well as a buy-out, or a cut to stretch the salary over several years. In any case, Brodie must pack his bags with a specific goal for LA: to regain salary flexibility in return. An entire program.
3. Recruit 3-and-D wingers
If the staggering amount of the Westbrook contract can indeed be broken up into several players, the Lakers will have the possibility of recruiting tough guys – on the wings in particular. Both Kent Bazemore and Trevor Ariza have been real flops this year, and the Angelinos need players who are capable on defense and nimble wide on offense to line their wings. Who ? Markieff Morris could be interested, as well as Tony Snell. And what about Robert Covington, free agent in a few months?
4. Find yourself a real regular and efficient pivot
Dwight Howard is very nice, but the time has come to have a real position 5 in the racket next to Anthony Davis, who has repeated many times that he was more comfortable in 4. The signature recent Wenyen Gabriel is good news, but it is a pivot of the titular caliber that Rob Pelinka must go to dig up. Andre Drummond, free this summer, could be an interesting option. But he won’t be the only one.
1. Make sure Kendrick Nunn activates his player option
Taken aback by some of the fans after missing the entire season, Kendrick Nunn is nonetheless a key pawn of the Lakers’ summer. Why ? For his option to more than 5 million dollars. If the former Heat activates it, the purples and golds will either have their replacement point guard all found, or they can use his contract in a trade. In both cases, the activation of this option is a necessity, and that’s good: the player would have decided to indeed activate it.
You will have understood: for GM Rob Pelinka, who will be maintained in his position according to ESPN, the summer construction site is simply enormous. To raise the Angelinos, it will be necessary to succeed this summer as much as the previous one was missed. This is to say the magnitude of the task…