Los Angeles Lakers Hope to Keep Dwight and Get Kobe Healthy
The Los Angeles Lakers are in quite a quandary. They are majority owned by the Buss Family, which lost patriarch Dr. Jerry Buss. Dr. Buss’ portfolio included ventures outside of the Lakers; he owned real estate and bankrolled other businesses. The Lakers are now headed mostly by Jeannie and Jim Buss, who are both divided against the other in how the Lakers are run. Additionally, it is their sole means of revenue. The importance of all of this is the fact that the Lakers are staring at $80 million in payroll before any moves are made this summer; and there are several moves that must be made if the Lakers are even going to make the playoffs, much less make another realistic march to the NBA Finals and get the coveted 6th ring that Kobe Bryant wants so badly.
The salary cap is likely to be about $58 million or so, and the luxury tax is probably going to be in the $73 million range. The Lakers are over both. Because of this, they will already be restricted from executing sign-and-trade deals, as well as utilizing the full mid-level exception. The MLE would allow for the Lakers to potentially bring in a better player such as Jarrett Jack to bolster their lacking backcourt.
The Dwight Howard saga is going to be palpable. The Lakers are already showcasing billboards expressing their desire for Howard to remain in Los Angeles. Kobe Bryant is pushing hard to be ready for Opening Night in the NBA around Halloween, but coming off a ruptured Achilles tendon could require an additional two months – although no one can count out Kobe Bryant.
Will the Lakers amnesty Metta World Peace? Will they ride out his walk year? Will they potentially try to trade him to a team that could use a defensive leader and the $7.7 million in cap space going into July 2014? What will the Lakers do with Pau Gasol? He still has trade value, but the Lakers are not getting anything close to what they want whenever they dangle his name on the market for trades. The Lakers’ objective is to get a quality star player and a bench player if they trade Gasol. The Lakers can also amnesty Gasol (instead of World Peace) and utilize the cap space – should they get under the cap by declining the team’s option on G Jodie Meeks – to actually make a deal; as they can exceed the cap in order to re-sign Howard. There are moves to be made, and if they do, it will have to be in free agency. Just as their east coast big-market counterparts – the New York Knicks – the Lakers typically sell off their 1st Round picks to acquire star players. 2013 is no different. The Lakers do not possess a 1st Round pick in the 2013 NBA Draft (barring a draft night trade), as their 19th pick was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
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