The Los Angeles Lakers are always expected to be major players in the offseason.
That, however, won’t be the case this year. Although the Lakers may decide to re-sign Pau Gasol, Kobe Bryant’s contract will likely keep them from making a big splash. Of course, that may not be bad. Depending on what certain players do regarding their options, this offseason may not be all that it is cracked up to be.
Larry Coon of Basketball Insiders believes the Lakers are planning to be players in 2015.
Kobe’s extension effectively put off their rebuild plan by one season, and the 2014 free agent market weighed into their decision. Unless LeBron James falls into their laps, there really isn’t going to be a free agent this summer that they’d be willing to build their team around, so it wasn’t going to be an optimal strategy in any event. Instead they’ll sign a nice complementary player & draft well this summer, and set their sights on the 2015 free agent class to land a franchise player. Then in 2016 Kobe will drop off the books, and they’ll have room to chase another nice free agent.
Of course, as Coon stated, the Lakers could have been players in 2014 without Bryant’s massive contract, but waiting until 2015 to be a player isn’t a bad idea. Minnesota Timberwolves’ power forward Kevin Love, Portland Trail Blazers’ power forward LaMarcus Aldridge and Memphis Grizzlies’ center Marc Gasol can all become unrestricted free agents, Charlotte Hornets’ big man Al Jefferson has a player option and if the Miami Heat’s big three of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh and New York Knicks’ forward Carmelo Anthony opt in this offseason, they will also be unrestricted free agents.