Los Angeles Lakers are currently working on building the best team for the next season. Apparently, they had a season to remember. But it would have been more memorable if they would emerge as champions. After a pretty miraculous turnaround, the Lakers hoped to win the title for the coveted 18th time. They defeated the second-seed Memphis Grizzlies and the defending champions Golden State Warriors in Round 1 and 2 of the playoffs. Both rounds were over in six games because of the Lakers squad’s sheer dominance.
That’s how good the Los Angeles Lakers side was in the playoffs until they met Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference Finals and got blown apart. The top seed of the Western Conference eliminated the Lakers in four games. It was a devastating loss since the team did not expect to start their offseason so soon. After the February trade deadline, the Lakers signed a lot of quality players who helped a lot this season. And now, General Manager Rob Pelinka is thinking about how to maintain the same roster for the next season as well, keeping in mind the cap space.
Jovan Buha Says Lakers Looking To Retain As Many As Possible
The Lakers’ front office must be planning to make some bold decisions about who to keep and who they can let go. And according to The Athletic’s Jovan Buha, the LA side is planning to “Run it back as much as they can afford to.” Apparently, GM Rob Pelinka might look for a third star in the team who can play alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis. If they can afford it, the Lakers would like to buy either Kyrie Irving, Trae Young or Fred VanVleet, and so on.
Moreover, Buha analyzes the cap space of the Lakers. According to him, “LeBron with a contract of $46.9 million, AD with a contract of $40.6 million, AR may get $12.5 million contract, Rui Hachimura between $15 to $18 million might get to play for the same team next season.” He added that Jarred Vanderbilt, with $4.7 million, and Max Christie, with $1.7 million, might stay as well. Hence, the Lakers front office might have trouble retaining more than these players.
Cap Space Is The Problem Of The LA Franchise
The problem with the Los Angeles Lakers is their cap space. Moreover, they have two top stars – LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Clearly, it is a costly affair to keep them. Then only a few players have a contract for the next season on the current roster of the Lakers. James, AD, Jarred Vanderbilt, and Max Christie have contracts extending till next year. But D’Angelo Russell, Dennis Schroder, Lonnie Walker IV, Tristan Thompson, and Troy Brown Jr. will be unrestricted free agents.
In the meantime, Austin Reaves and Rui Hachimura will be restricted free agents this summer. On the other hand, Malik Beasley got a player option, and Mo Bamba has a non-guaranteed contract. Although after the WCF was over in the post-game interview session, James gave a hint of a retirement call. Moreover, it is another significant concern for the Lakers to chalk out a plan to build the team with or without LeBron for the next season.