Shaquille O’Neal On Kobe Bryant’s Retirement, Lakers Free Agency

Shaquille O’Neal On Kobe Bryant’s Retirement, Lakers Free Agency

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Once the 2015-16 NBA season officially comes to an end for the Los Angeles Lakers, it will mark the end of an era for the storied franchise. Kobe Bryant will walk away from the team this summer after 20 years as the face of the Lakers.

With Bryant heading into retirement, the Lakers brass will look for their next franchise player. The team has brought in a few young players through the NBA Draft with potential to be stars in this league, but the jury is still out on whether any of the team’s current young core can take Kobe’s place.

Shaquille O’Neal, Bryant’s former Lakers teammate and current NBA analyst, believes with Kobe moving on the team can bring in the next franchise player. O’Neal made an appearance on ESPN 710 with Mason and Ireland and talked about the next steps for the Los Angeles franchise via Lakers Nation reporter Serena Winters:

A lot of things will have to go the Lakers way in the NBA offseason in order for the team to bounce back quickly after three straight losing seasons.

The Lakers organization will hope to keep the team’s first-round pick by securing one of the top-three picks during the NBA Draft Lottery on May 17. If the Lakers can hold onto their pick, Mitch Kupchak and company will do their due diligence leading up to the draft with Ben Simmons, Brandon Ingram, Dragan Bender, and Buddy Hield likely being on a short list of players the team will consider on draft day on June 23.

Once the 2016 NBA Draft is in the books, free agency will get underway about a week later
on July 1. Superstar Kevin Durant is expected to be atop the team’s wishlist followed by DeMar DeRozan, Hassan Whiteside, Al Horford, Chandler Parsons, and Nicolas Batum to name a few potential targets.

Although it may be a long shot that Los Angeles can convince a superstar like Durant to sign a lucrative long-term deal, the 16-time NBA champions never seem to be ruled out until free agents officially sign their new contracts. It’ll be interesting to see if the Lakers can finally reload the roster this summer with free agency, trades, and the draft giving the franchise opportunities to do so.