LOS ANGELES LAKERS
Draft Picks Coming: None
Draft Picks Going: 2014 second round (to Milwaukee); 2015 first round (to Phoenix, protected 1-5); 2015 second round (to Orlando, 31-40); 2017 first round (to Orlando, 1-5)
Trade Exceptions: Steve Blake ($2,000,000), expires Feb. 19, 2015
Over/Under: Over the apron
Amnesty Provision: Used on Metta World Peace (2013)
Stretch Provision: Available
Player Option Team Option Qualifying Offer
The Lakers gambled big on Dwight Howard and lost. He gets replaced by Chris Kaman, who took a one-year deal that doesn’t interfere with the Lakers’ long-term plans — going well below the cap next summer and being the top destination (in theory) for a free agent class that will include LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Dirk Nowitzki and a whole bunch of other studs.
Who wants to help get Kobe Bryant his sixth championship? Who wants to get Jack Nicholson back in his front row seat? (We can’t see Jack suffering through the train wreck this season will be unless he doubles up on the ganja.)
So 2013-14 will be a throwaway season, and Priority No. 1 will be flipping Pau Gasol into as many draft picks and good young players as humanly possible. Remember, the Lakers traded away their 2015 (top 5 protected) and 2017 draft picks to bring in Steve Nash. They should be able to get a No. 1 at a minimum
if when they trade Gasol.
The best thing they can do to build for the future is make sure that one of those picks is a 2014 pick, when there will be a draft class that may be even deeper than the 2003 draft.
Another priority — and this can happen through the Gasol trade — is getting beneath the luxury tax threshold for the first time ever. Using the amnesty provision on Metta World Peace – one of the few Lakers who played to his potential last season – got them close. If they can do that this season, they avoid being subject to the new punitive repeater tax a year earlier than previously planned.
However, Laker Nation can spend the season watching the Kansas Jayhawks and dreaming of Andrew Wiggins.
Nobody is going to tell Bryant when he can or can’t come back from his torn Achilles, but even the Kobester knows that tanking this season is a priority. He needs to keep as much gas in the tank as possible for 2014-15.
Until Bryant comes back, free agent scorer Nick Young will hold down the fort, taking his “Swaggy P” act back home to LA.