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Lakers Contract Situations That Must Be Addressed During the Off-Season Reviewed by Momizat on . The 2011-2012 season has come to an end for the Los Angeles Lakers, leaving a plateful of concerns that must be addressed during the off-season. The first and o The 2011-2012 season has come to an end for the Los Angeles Lakers, leaving a plateful of concerns that must be addressed during the off-season. The first and o Rating:
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Lakers Contract Situations That Must Be Addressed During the Off-Season

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The 2011-2012 season has come to an end for the Los Angeles Lakers, leaving a plateful of concerns that must be addressed during the off-season. The first and one of the most important of these concerns is deciding what to do with players whose contracts have expired.

Luckily for the Lakers, there are only three players currently on the team whose contracts expired at season’s end. Those three players include center Jordan Hill and forwards Matt Barnes and Troy Murphy.

Of the three, the most likely to return for the Lakers is Hill. A promising young center who showed glimpses of exceptional skills towards the end of the season and throughout the playoffs, Hill holds the most long-term potential of the three. More than anything, he gave the Lakers a big man who could come off of the bench and actually provide some quality play in the paint. Hill’s game is still strewn with inconsistencies, but he wants to stay in L.A. and he fits the bill for a team looking to shed some age.

Barnes has been a solid contributor for the past two seasons with the Lakers. His time in L.A., however, has been hampered by injuries. Not to say that he hasn’t battled through, but his health concerns, inconsistent production and ineffectiveness with the outside shot could force the Lakers to head in another direction this off-season.

Murphy, who was brought in on a one-year “prove it” deal, probably didn’t do enough to entice the Lakers into keeping him around. The aging veteran picked up leftover scraps of minutes that Josh McRoberts dropped and rarely stood out when he was on the court. The Lakers knew they were getting an aging veteran when they signed Murphy, but he didn’t provide the play-making and outside shooting they were hoping for.

Those three might be the only Lakers players who could potentially become unrestricted free agents, but there are still a couple restricted free agents that must be tended to in the next few months.

Second-year small forward Devin Ebanks will be a restricted free agent this off-season, meaning that the Lakers have the option to match any contract that another team offers him. Considering his disappointing 2011-2012 performance and the fact that he’ll receive little interest on the open market, it’s safe to assume that Ebanks will be back in L.A. in 2012-2013 for a reasonable price.

Point guard Darius Morris, a rookie during the 2011-2012 campaign, joins Ebanks as the Lakers’ other restricted free agent. Although he got minimum playing time last season (169 minutes over 19 games) and has his sights set on more minutes during the upcoming season, it’s unlikely that he’ll be with any team other than the Lakers.

As for starting point guard Ramon Sessions, who was acquired mid-way through the season, things could get a little complicated. Currently holding a player option for about $4.55 million next season, it’s unclear as to whether or not Sessions will exercise the option. He made it clear before the playoffs that he intended to not exercise it. That was, however, before a lackluster post-season made him reconsider. He could decide to stick with the Lakers for one more season in hopes of playing his way into a big-time contract or he could test his value on the open market. More than likely, though, he’ll choose the latter and give the free agency waters a feel.

The only other lingering question mark apart from the Lakers’ unrestricted/restricted free agents is center Andrew Bynum, who has a $16 million team-option for 2012-2013 that has yet to be exercised. Whether they expect to stick with the potential-laden big man long-term or use him as trade bait, it’s almost a guarantee that they’ll exercise the option by the June 30 deadline.

Although the rest of the Lakers’ roster is currently under contract, that in no way means that they’ll be wearing purple and gold during the 2012-2013 NBA season.

“There will be some change,” Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak said.

When the NBA’s new collective bargaining agreement was finally passed last November, an amnesty clause was added that would allow teams to release one player while effectively removing his salary from the cap totals. Although the Lakers opted not to amnesty anyone this past season, there’s a possibility that they could use the clause to sever ties with one of two players.

Starting small forward Metta World Peace is due to make $15 million over the next two seasons, which could become quite a burden when the Lakers begin searching for more talent to add via free agency this off-season. His untimely suspension prior to the playoffs could make them consider amnestying him, but he played well enough throughout the season to make the Lakers take a hard look at keeping him around for at least one more season.

The other candidate that the Lakers could amnesty is veteran point guard Steve Blake, who is set to make $8 million over the next two seasons. Blake had an underwhelming season for the Lakers in 2011-2012 and continued to display subpar three-point shooting. Especially if Sessions sticks around next season, Blake could become an amnesty casualty after failing to play up to his level of pay for the past two years.

The final remaining concern is what the future holds for power forward Pau Gasol. Due almost $40 million over the next two seasons, Gasol turned in a disappointing post-season that has paved the way for off-season trade rumors. With the emergence of Bynum and the transition away from the Triangle offense, Gasol’s value has diminished considerably for the Lakers. He’s one of the only two players who could yield considerable talent via trade, which might be his fate after the Lakers failed to make it past the conference semifinals for the second year in a row.

The rest of the Lakers players not previously mentioned who are still under contract: Kobe Bryant (signed through 2014), Christian Eyenga (signed through 2014), Andrew Goudelock (signed through 2013) and Josh McRoberts (signed through 2013).

It’ll be an interesting off-season in 2012 as the Lakers begin the process of preparing for a push towards another NBA Championship. The only thing for certain: change is a comin’.

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About The Author

An L.A. native, Gil Alcaraz IV has bled purple and gold since birth. After two years of covering the Lakers as a freelance writer for Yahoo! Sports, he has brought his talents to Lakers Nation. For more from Gil, make sure to follow him on Twitter.

Number of Entries : 18
  • Jessicas1906

    To make the lakers sucessful is bringing back the players like odom or brining greater players of other teams that have an expired contract

  • Sti1lmatic

    Get rid of Barnes and give us Leandro Barbosa or Mickael Pietrus
    Get rid of Troy Murphy & Josh McRobers and give us Kris Humphries or Jason Maxiell
    Get rid of sessions and give us Aaron Brooks or Gilbert Arenas
    Get rid of MWP and give us Andres Nocioni or Tracy McGrady

    Just change up our bench players with the Pau move.
    We got Kapona, Troy Murphy and McRoberts…why wouldn’t you take a risk with any of the people above even if its for one year.

    • Nanacamcam

       You’re on point with Aaron Brooks!! Me and one of my co-workers have been saying this since the lockout. I think he’s still in China since his team made the playoffs over there. Not sure what is contract in Phoenix holds but Mitch needs to go after him

  • californiamobilecpr

    Dump everyone you got in the Fisher and Kopono trade except Hill. Dump MWP, Gasol , Blake, Barnes and rebuild with a much younger team, more athletic team. Build around Kobe, Hill, Bynum and Sessions and Ewbanks.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Aputasos Jose Rios

    They need to trade Metta while his value is better due to his production. Even though his suspension might affect him, one cannot question his tenacity and toughness that a lot of teams lack.  I think, trading Metta and Gasol, could get us a legit Small forward, maybe top 5.  Amnesty Blake, keep sessions, but make a run for Deron Williams, or any other top point guard available, session and goudelock will need help! let go of darius morris, he’s not better than sessions or a top point guard, obviously.   Murphy needs to go and so does Matt Barnes! sign ebanks the guy can play if he’s given more minutes, but i’d still sign one more PF or SF combo player.  So the roster would end up being:  PG: Sessions, Goud, and at least a top 15 PG.  SG: Kobe, maybe a rookie SG, and that guy we got with Jordan Hill, what’s his name again?  SF: Elite SF we traded Gasol and Metta for, maybe Rudy Gay? Granger? AI? Granger and Kobe would be a sick tandem but Pacers would not ruin there future elite team.  I can possibly see AI and maybe someone included. Or they can finally accept that Rockets trade of Kevin Martin and Scola and that point guard Lowry, that trade would rule and would solve their pg, sf and pf problems.  PF: McRoberts, maybe Scola?, rookie/offseason pickup, C: BYNUM. Knock him all you want, but the man has drastically improved, what was it? 8 or 10 blocks against Denver? and against McGee, that kid is going to be big.  ,  and Jordan Hill, you all know what Hill brought he will be on this team.

    Trades, offseason moves, cutting excess hacks, signing maybe a young PF and SG should bolster this club to a better season in 2012/13. No need to go after superstars, but if the opportunity presents itself why not? But just by simply getting better shooters or younger talent, Lakers should benefit from Bynum’s progression, as well as Sessions, and can’t forget about big TWO FOUR KB!

  • BeatBoston

    If I were the Lakers, I would blow up the bench, get rid of Gasol, and the coaching staff. It is clearly evident that our team’s bench play, Gasol’s inconsistency and softness, and Mike Brown cost us our season. Trade Partners that we should be looking at is Houston, Memphis, Minnesota, Phoenix, Atlanta, and maybe Orlando. The first move I would make is that I would demote Mike Brown to our defensive assistant coach. The next coaching move I would make is to reinstate Brian Shaw to the head coach and have him pick the rest of his coaching staff. Brian Shaw can help us regroup our offense again, and he is well respected by Kobe and the players who had him before. The next front office move I would make is to fire Mitch Kupchak and to bring back Jerry West, or Kurt Rambis as a General Manager. These two men are well respected player figures in Los Angeles. They will be well recepted in Los Angeles. If this doesn’t work, I would promote Jeanie Buss as the General Manager. Unlike Mitch, She has a Brain.

    Player moves that I would make:
    Move 1-Sign Michael Beasely using trade exception from Odom
    Reason: This is the easiest way to recieve a all around scoring threat from free agency.
    Beasly also has size and versitility. Beasely can guard 2′s through 4′s and could play shooting guard through power forward.

    Move 2- Trade Pau Gasol for Zach Randolph and OJ Mayo 
    or
    Trade Pau Gasol for Josh Smith and Jeff Teague
    or 
    Trade Pau Gasol for Lamarcus Aldrige and Wesley Matthews
    or
    Trade Pau Gasol for Kevin Martin and Kyle Lowry.
    or 
    Pau Gasol for Stephen Curry and David Lee
    or 
    Pau Gasol for Tyreke Evans and Demarcus Cousins
    or 
    Pau Gasol for Deron Williams

    Reason- As you can see, most of these Pau Gasol trades, except the Atlanta one; gives us a sixth man and a power forward with skill and toughness. The Memphis- Lakers trade works the best for Pau Gasol personally. Pau will have the ability to pair with his brother Marc and Memphis was very open a couple weeks ago about shipping Mayo. The second trade with Atlanta is a great one because it one that we could steal. Josh Smith is in his prime and is a top 10 power forward and Jeff Teague is lightning quick and can stay with quick guards.
    The Portland one is good because Lamarcus Aldrige is basically an all star caliber player, and Wes Matthews is a sniper off the bench. Plus, his dad was a former Laker. Next, the Houston trade  will give us a nice starting point guard in Lowry and a Shotgun off the bench in Kevin Martin. The Golden state trade can give us to players in their prime, and Stephen Curry and Kobe backcourt can be nice if both are healthy. The Sacremento one Pau Gasol for Demarcus Cousins would better prepare our team for the future. Last, Pau gasol for Deron Williams would give us a dangerous backcourt of Kobe and Deron. This will spell danger for the rest of the NBA.Anyone one of these moves would significantly help our team. 
    Move 3- Resign Hill, Ebanks, Morris, Sessions
    Reason- These players are very young and are yet to reach their true prime.Move 4- Sign Odom to a mini mid level exception
    Reason- Odom can be signed to a cheaper price, and next seson he will come back in shape and in focus. The reason for his poor play is that he was mentally broken from what Mitch Kupchak tried to feature him in the almost Chris Paul trade. Prior to that trade, he had one of his best seasons ever. He gained the 6th man of the year award. I feel that without his reality show and the media, he will be hungry.
    Move 5- Sign Shannon Brown
    or 
    Trade Blake, Murphy, McRoberts,and Eyenga and use cash considerations for sign Steve Nash.

    Reason- It is clear that to win a champioship in this league nowadays, you have to be somewhat athletic. I feel if we sign Brown he would have the foot speed and athleticism to keep up with quick point guards. Plus, I would like him to be the new starting point guard. The Steve Nash move will bring us a smart point guard who can see the floor the best and he can shoot the lights out. Nash’s specialty is to drop dimes. I am also against this move because he is aging, has a back health condition, and isn’t the best option on defense.

    I think that these series of moves will bring us back to the top.
    LakeShow is back 2013 BaBy!

  • Lhdt168

    First thing Laker move out G.M Mitch Kupchak. What he do for Laker this few year? Sigh Wastion 3 year 15Mls. Sigh Murphy Kapono,Robert for what? All that players do nothing

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