The Los Angeles Lakers made a series of moves this offseason that not only strengthened their roster, but eased their situation in lieu of the 2018 free agency class. Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka have been steadily focused on signing two max free agents, so acquiring one-year contracts like Brook Lopez, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and Andrew Bogut was vital this summer.
After a few difficult seasons, the Lakers finally have a sense of optimism around their franchise, ready to break the shackles that involved their recent lottery stints. Part of that process involves the upgrades in the starting lineup, headlined by Lopez.
As a reliable low-post scorer and capable three-point shooter, Lopez figures to be a crucial part of head coach Luke Walton’s up-tempo system.
However, these players can’t help but notice the outlook of the franchise, which is set towards the possible franchise-altering 2018 free agency class. In an interview with Bill Oram of the O.C. Register, Lopez stated that he is okay with the uncertainty, providing a fun situation for the upcoming season:
“I’ve definitely noticed it,” Lopez said. “There’s lots of reasons obviously for that excitement, no question. But I’m a super unassuming guy myself, so I’m all right with that.”
He said “the variables and unknowns” will make the upcoming season “a fun process.”
Lopez enters the final season of his maximum extension he signed with the Nets, with a chance to prove to the Lakers and entire NBA that he can still contribute at an elite level. The North Hollywood native has remained a staple in the NBA, even while on a team that has accumulated a 264-458 record since his rookie season.
The 2012-13 All-Star is rational enough to understand the situation for the Lakers, but is still honored to be viewed as a leader by Walton. While there were some questions regarding his availability for training camp and preseason, Lopez assured that his back injury isn’t serious and won’t keep him out of action.
Entering the 2017-18 campaign, the development of the young core is of the utmost importance, as a selling point to possible free agents of what can be. However, at the same time, the young core needs to take in as much wisdom as possible from players like Lopez to build a chemistry that can help them elevate the team to the next level.