The team with sixteen NBA championships and many legends such as Kobe Bryant, Wilt Chamberlain, Shaquille O’Neal and more will not be raising the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy this June. The last couple years have been tough for the Los Angeles Lakers. The seasons have been filled with darkness, losses, lottery picks, and more losses. However, those times are over, because a new era for the Lakers starts now.
The Lakers made many moves this offseason and the roster looks quite different. They did not sign any superstars but the roster was still improved. The Lakers made four signings this offseason. They signed Kentavious Caldwell-Pope for 1 year, $17.746 million. They also signed Tyler Ennis, Andrew Bogut, and Alex Caruso to smaller contracts.
One of the big moves, if not the biggest, of the summer was the trade the Lakers made with the Brooklyn Nets. The Lakers acquired Brook Lopez and the draft rights to the 27th pick in exchange for D’Angelo Russell and Timofey Mozgov. You may be asking, why did the Lakers make the trade as Russell has so much potential? Well the reason is quite simple; during the 2016 offseason the Lakers signed Timofey Mozgov to a 4 year, $64 million contract. I don’t know what the Lakers were thinking when they entered into that contract but obviously this was a mistake. So, the trade was a salary dump for the Lakers. Brook Lopez is on a one year deal and that 27th pick, Kyle Kuzma, may be a lot better than people thought he would be.
The Lakers also made a trade on draft night. They traded the 28th pick for the 30th and 42nd pick. With the 30th pick the Lakers selected Josh Hart, a guard from Villanova, and with the 42nd pick, selected Thomas Bryant, a big man out of Indiana. So on draft night the Lakers added Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Josh Hart, and Thomas Bryant. The players you will not see on this years roster for the Lakers will be Tarik Black, Timofey Mozgov, David Nwaba, Thomas Robinson, Nick Young, Metta World Peace, and D’Angelo Russell
The Lakers open their season against the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday night and Laker fans should not have too high of expectations. In the Western Conference the Lakers will not likely make the playoffs. Just hope that all the young players on the roster improve and grow as players on the court and off. Growth is the key word for the Lakers this upcoming season.
WHO TO PAY ATTENTION TO
Someone to watch out for on the Lakers this season is Brandon Ingram. Fans and experts are comparing Ingram to Durant, and I like that comparison. With everyone only focused on Lonzo Ball, Ingram could easily be a great player no one notices until the end of the season. Hopefully Head Coach Luke Walton is able to help with the Ball/Ingram chemistry and connection. I would not be surprised if they are in LA a long time together.
There is a player on the Lakers who will have the most pressure to have a giant year, and most are not noticing that. That player is Julius Randle. Randle did not sign an extension by the deadline so he will become a restricted free agent in the offseason of 2018. He must prove he will be a valuable asset in order to get a nice contract with the Lakers. If Randle does not prove himself, he will not be resigned and might even be off the roster by the trade deadline.
The worst and dark years are over for the Lakers. With a young core led by Lonzo Ball the Lakers should only be improving from here on. Will the defense suck again this year? Probably. But that’s okay as long as they are improving game to game, week to week, month to month.
Overall the Lakers will improve this season tiredly but Laker fans should not have too high of expectations as the Lakers will not be a playoff team and are almost out of the rebuilding stage.