The L.A. Lakers are aiming high in the rumor mill, but may end up coming away with very, very little in the offseason.
Here's a look at the Lakers' salary cap levels over the past six seasons.
Needless to say, Jerry Buss has no qualms spending copious amount of money to compete for and win championships.
Heading into free agency, the Lakers have a cap figure of $91 million with the leaguewide team salary cap set at $58 million and the luxury tax line at $70 million. The team will be restricted to the mini mid-level exception ($9.3 million over three years), signing its own free agents, signing players to minimum contracts and trades to augment its roster.
The Lakers' free agents are:
L.A. is expected to lose Brown; GM Mitch Kupchak has already admitted he sees a team making the guard an offer the Lakers won't match due to the attached tax hit. Ratliff and Smith hardly played last season; Smith, anyways, must continue his quest to play for every team in the NBA. I believe the Rockets are up next.
Outside of the CP3/Howard saga, the Lakers seem awful willing to move Andrew Bynum or Lamar Odom in the right deal. You never know when a team will decide to rebuild and sell off a star, but you can be assured that the Lakers will be right there in insert themselves in the rumors.
Point guard is a never-ending concern; CP3 made Derek Fisher and Steve Blake look like Muppets in the playoffs, and J.J. Barea had them as confused as a coxswain in a canoe. But upgrading the position is difficult given the boom-or-bust stratification of the roster. Who is there to trade for an effective, unspectacular lead guard? Instead, look for Mike Brown to experiment with different lineups and give rookie Darius Morris and Andrew Goudelock some opportunities.
Luke Walton appears to have no intention of filing for medical retirement, so the Lakers may need to use the amnesty clause on him to cut down that tax bill.
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