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Trying To Make Sense Of The Lakers Uneventful Offseason (So Far) Reviewed by Momizat on . PAGES: 1 | 2 | 3 When the Lakers gave Kobe Bryant his massive two-year extension last November, it gave us a slight clue as to what their intentions were for th PAGES: 1 | 2 | 3 When the Lakers gave Kobe Bryant his massive two-year extension last November, it gave us a slight clue as to what their intentions were for th Rating: 0
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Trying To Make Sense Of The Lakers Uneventful Offseason (So Far)

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When the Lakers gave Kobe Bryant his massive two-year extension last November, it gave us a slight clue as to what their intentions were for this offseason. With nearly half of their salary cap now tied up in just Kobe and Steve Nash, we could conclude that they would only have enough cap room to offer one max contract to a free agent, and that would most likely come at the expense of losing Pau Gasol. We could also assume that they had most likely surveyed the upcoming free agent class and determined that nearly all of the top free agents were either going to re-sign with their current teams or were restricted free agents who would need to be grossly overcompensated to avoid having their offers sheets matched by their current teams.

Unlike the teams that actually had desirable assets with which to trade for someone like Kevin Love, the Lakers only had two things with which to improve their roster this offseason: the 7th pick in the draft and the ability to create as much as $32 million in cap space. With expectations low and hope high, Lakers fans entered free agency with cautious optimism. At least until we let our imaginations get the best of us.

carmelo_kobe_nbaFor the purpose of this exercise, imagine you are holding a balloon. Now inflate it with as many breaths  as necessary until it eventually pops. Each of those breaths represents another ounce of hope that came with every rumor, the pop represents the reality that none of those things actually came to fruition. First, Carmelo Anthony included the Lakers on his free agency tour. The meeting was reportedly a success. So much so, that Anthony recently told ESPN’s Jeff Goodman, “It was hard. It was Chicago, but then after I met with L.A., it was L.A.”

Not long after the Melo meeting, Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak was on a plane to Cleveland to meet with LeBron’s agent to discuss the possibility of both LeBron and Carmelo joining the Lakers. It was also reported that Pau Gasol had said he would return to the Lakers at a discount if they were to sign Anthony. Even with most cautious of optimism, you couldn’t help but to momentarily fantasize about a starting lineup with Kobe, Melo, LeBron, and Pau in it.

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The Lakers would not only miss out on Melo and LeBron, but Pau had also decided it was time to move on, giving up his house on the beach for the cold winters of Chicago. Despite having all of that financial freedom, the roster that finished last season with a 27-55 record, might be worse next season. In addition to losing Gasol, they also lost Jodie Meeks, Jordan Farmar, Kent Bazemore, Kendall Marshall, Chris Kaman, and MarShon Brooks. Those seven were replaced by rookies Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson, as well as Jeremy Lin, Carlos Boozer, and Ed Davis. Those new guys join Kobe, Nash, and Robert Sacre, as well as re-signed free agents Nick Young, Jordan Hill, Ryan Kelly, Xavier Henry, and Wes Johnson.

gasol_1200_140721Although Pau’s exit wasn’t much of a shocker, the fact that he declined a more lucrative offer from the Lakers is a bit of a tell. With Mike D’Antoni out as head coach, the only opportunity that would have made leaving the Lakers a no-brainer was the chance to get similar money to what the Lakers were offering while also getting the chance to compete for a championship – something the Lakers can’t promise anyone while keeping a straight face.

I would have preferred to keep Meeks over any of the free agents they chose to bring back, but who expected anyone to offer him the 3-year/$19 million contract he got from Detroit? As for Farmar, it’s understandable that he didn’t want to wait on the Lakers any longer than he already had. For someone who gave up millions in Turkey to return to Los Angeles, he couldn’t pass up the opportunity to not have to move his family again.

Losing Bazemore stings because the Lakers could have picked up his option for next season at a cost of only $1.1 million. They didn’t do it because they wanted to use the little bit of cap space his contract took up to pad their offers to Carmelo and LeBron. While they didn’t close the door on bringing him back, Bazemore ended up signing with the Atlanta Hawks for 2-years/$4 million; proving that they let a bargain get away for nothing.

Similarly, the Lakers had to waive Kendall Marshall to free up the cap space needed after they had won the auction for Carlos Boozer. They were hoping that Marshall would clear waivers and they could bring him back on a deal similar to the $915,000 he’ll make next season. Instead, he was claimed by the Milwaukee Bucks. While I enjoyed watching him play, losing Marshall is not a huge deal, especially with Lin, Clarkson, and Nash already on the roster. I’m just pointing out that their plan to waive him and re-sign him was just another in a pattern of things not really going the way the Lakers had hoped this offseason.

Kobe Bryant Answers Fan’s Questions, Talks Keys To The Game

PAGE 2: Trying To Make Sense of The Lakers Uneventful Offseason (So Far)

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About The Author

Andrew Ungvari is a Los Angeles native and a Lakers season ticket holder since 1989. Follow him on twitter @DrewUnga.

Number of Entries : 47
  • Spade

    What’s there to make sense of? We came up completely empty in free agency. We won’t be making the playoffs next year. And next year’s free agent class is basically dried up. We’re completely in rebuild mode with the worse possible architect (Jim Buss) calling the shots. The team’s strategy isn’t hard to see: remain flexible every summer and chase big name free agents until one signs with us or we draft a superstar ourselves.

    • David

      In another word we rebuild every year until we hit a home run but we won’t settle for singles. The problem with this strategy is the avoidance of being mediocre-to bad may end up being that for much longer than you ever anticipated.

      • Spade

        Exactly. Unfortunately not many people can see that.

        • Duckathon

          That’s why it’s better if Lakers build trhough draft and player development with free agency complimenting their team instead of hoping for a superstar every year.

          • J Taylor

            Isn’t this what they did last year and this year?

    • jm2

      The Lakers need to contract Jerry West to advise Jim Buss.

    • Redemption Rain

      Not completely empty. It wasn’t a big splash like I predicted, but we got Lin and the Rockets 1st round pick for nothing. That is assets right there.

  • thisstinksagain!!

    Start of article was on point. We only needed cap space to chase one star free agent that would realistically (25-49% chance) would consider Lakers, Carmelo. All those people who keep hating on Kobe for taking a huge contract should just stop. Kobe, Carmelo, Lebron (probably hates playing with Kobe), Pau (probably hates laker management), was never going to happen. So with that in mind Imagine getting Kobe $15-18 mil/year. Then what? Lakers start overpaying for a bunch of retread roll player free agents multi-year deals like many other teams have this year? Go review the list of 2014 free agents available. Who else on there would you offer 15 mil a year for (Ariza, Bosh, Deng, Harrington, Marion, Stephenson, etc)?

    • Duckathon

      That’s ture. What’s the point of having all this cap space if you can’t get a superstar to sign.

      • SirHambone

        JUST has to be the right players and right Like Love and Durant. Both better possibilities!

      • J Taylor

        What’s the point of filling your cap space with b-tier guys who are over paid? – see Dallas Mavericks.

        Mitch clearly said last year, “we won’t bring in overpaid guys who don’t contribute.”

        The new CBA has created a league that is a 2 or 3 superstar system that requires a stable of young cheap contracts. And oddly enough, in this era, there are *seemingly* a small amount of superstars — a lot of overpaid all stars, but few truly transcendent players.

      • Redemption Rain

        What’s the point inputting all of your cash into one player? Melo’s deal can be split up for 2 or even 3 good role players you mention. Do some of you Lakers Fans know how to build a team? It needs a core and overpaying for 1 player is the dumbest move ever. Get real, Lakers also need depth not just another star.

  • TANKING FOR BRADLEY BEAL

    This off-season is torture on Lakers fans.Fuck Jim Buss!

  • SirHambone

    A lot of nothing!

  • J Taylor

    A long winded rambling article that summarizes everything and then provides nothing insightful. – meh.

    The team is slowly rebuilding. That’s the bottom line.
    Lin is in the long term future as a backup, but will be the starter this season.
    Clarkson is in the long term future as a guard in some capacity (probably kobe’s replacement).
    Randle is obviously in the future.
    The team is hoping Davis can be in the future.

    For what it’s worth, the starting team this year will be relatively good.There is no “weakest link”. They might not all be superstars, but they are all above average for their position. And the bench could be the deepest and most talented in the league. Scott’s new methods of slowing down the offense, and playing defense will keep the games low scoring and give the team a chance to win.

    • Redemption Rain

      I wouldn’t say Wesley or Sacre to be above average….

      • john Broderick

        He said the starters. They wont b starting

        • Redemption Rain

          Wesley or X could be starting for the 3rd position.

  • john broderick

    You all would make horrible GMs. Do u even pay attention to games? Lakers will b wayyyy better than people think.. starting line-up of lin-kobe-henry-boozer-davis is actually quite formidable. Which also leaves people that were starting last year coming off the bench giving them good depth at each position. Look up ed davis. His game. Not his stats. He has low numbers cause he was behind 2 of the best big men in the league.. lakers had no problem scoring last year. now u have kobe back plus more offense from the pg position. D was the problem. With davis and boozer down low. Scott a solid defensive minded coach. Plus kobe back again lol… lakers will b in the hunt. Mark my words!!!!

  • Bernard

    Nice article, however I think you suffer from a bit of revisionist history that other columnist seem to suffer from.

    From 1991 through 1999 the Lakers were not title contenders. Lakers’ fans have been through this before. We know the drill. The only fans who don’t know the routine are the bandwagoners who jumped on during the last title run.

    True fans know we’ll be just fine and back to our winning ways. That’s what we do.

  • SoulChorea

    Yo this is what happens when you try to “compete for championships”, while simultaneously trying to “prepare for the future”. You’re either all-in for winning now, or you step back and rebuild. Trying to do both since like 2010 has been a mistake. It led to hanging onto Bynum WAY too long, it led to not being willing to throw more chips in to make the CP3 deal work after the first deal was rejected, and it led to letting good guys (Ariza, Kaman) walk away to better offers. Now you’re stuck with a half too old, half too young roster and a middle of the road coach, instead of a strong veteran team with an elite coach, or even a young fiesty team with an up and coming coach. Can’t have both and expect to succeed.

    • MustardsOffTheHotDog

      I completely disagree with your view on Bynum. He was coming off a career year and was the top center in the West when they traded him for Dwight Howard, who at the time was widely considered the best center in the league. Can’t do much better than that.

      • SoulChorea

        I still think Bynum is a good player; even his few games for Indiana where he barely played last year he was an automatic double-double guy. Heck, I still have my “Bynum Brigade” t-shirt lol…so take him out of it but the rest of what I’m saying is the frustrating stuff

  • MustardsOffTheHotDog

    I guess I expect Bryant, Lin and Hill to play much better than the so called experts think. They basically rate all three as journeymen.

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