The Los Angeles Lakers reached the Western Conference Finals last season. But the Lakers were in no place to reach that stage in the beginning. It was a terrible start to the last season for the LA side. They were 2-12 in the beginning. There were many injury concerns, and there was no balance in their roster. However, things changed once the front office did some brilliant trading right before the February deadline. They brought balance to the roster, and then it looked like a championship-winning worthy team. Since then, the Lakers have not looked back as they overcame all obstacles to make the postseason, which was once unthinkable. Moreover, they defeated the second-seed Memphis Grizzlies in Round 1 and the defending champions, the Golden State Warriors, in Round 2. But the way everything panned out in the WCF against the eventual champions, the Denver Nuggets, was quite humiliating.
The Nuggets finished the Lakers off in only four games. Moreover, the 17-time champions could not win a single game in the conference finals. Hence, the front office needed to make some big changes in the offseason. However, the goal was to keep the core together. But the Laker’s front office did a remarkable job in the current offseason. They were able to retain the top players for the starting lineup. Moreover, they got to buy some more quality players. At present, the Lakers look pretty balanced and are a top contender for winning the championship next season. Hence, the question is, what can the Lakers Nation expect from the next season? As per Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report, the LA side can expect these three things to happen.
A. Lakers Trade D’Angelo Russell
D’Angelo Russell looked like a solid buy in the previous regular season. But he disappointed the front office and the fans in the playoffs, especially in the conference finals. Since the rumor of the LA side must trade, D’Lo was in the air. However, the Lakers retained him in the offseason for a couple of years with a contract worth $37 million. Moreover, the LA side might use D’Lo as a trade chip in the next mid-season. It will depend on how he performs and the other point guards perform. The Lakers can waive him as he has a no-trade clause. They might move Russell to upgrade to a different position.
B. Austin Reaves Improves Even More And Becomes An All-Star
Moreover, Austin Reaves had been through an unbelievable rise in his career. Two years ago, he was an undrafted player who signed a two-way contract with the LA Lakers. But two years later, he signed a four-year contract extension worth $56 million. What an unbelievable upward trajectory it has been! If he reaches the range of scoring 20 points, five rebounds, along with five assists per game, he can play his first All-Star game. AR might also receive the Most Improved Player award.
C. Lakers Can Win The Next Championship
Last but not least, the Lakers are always in the discussion of winning a championship, no matter what. If the duo of LeBron James and Anthony Davis can play more than 60 games next season, it can help the LA side a lot. Moreover, Austin Reaves is the next big thing on the LA side. And they can bet on AR any game at any time. Moreover, the team looks balanced, and even if there is any department that seems to be weak, they have quality trade assets to solve the problem. Hence, there is no doubt that the Lakers are among the top contenders.