NBA rumors: Could Lakers wait until 2015 for free agency splash?

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE

The Lakers will deal with Kobe Bryant's recovery from injury next year, and don't have a whole bunch to spend on players who could potentially replace him. Mitch Kupchak says the team isn't "throwing in the towel," but what can it do?

The Los Angeles Lakers are always one of the NBA's most potent teams, ready to strike at potential players who could guide the squad to success. But Mitch Kupchak sounded downright patient in an interview with Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times, citing his squad's need to wait it out to find elite players who can return the squad to championship contention.

Kupchak said the team wouldn't "throw in the towel" before the beginning of next year, but there isn't a whole ton it can do in the imminent future due to the league's salary cap. That said, the team only has $10.6 million in contract commitments the year after this one. That gives the club a lot of flexibility when trying to figure out where to spend its money, as its general manager noted:

"You have to look beyond next year. You can't say we have all this flexibility and we're going to use it all next year," Kupchak said. "You don't know if you're going to use it for a free agent or a trade or to sign back Pau or Kobe. We're in the position where we can sit down at the end of the year and look and see what's best for the organization. We're in control, so to speak."

Kupchak remained optimistic about Kobe Bryant's return from injury, even if the exact timing was uncertain:

"Does that mean five months is possible or it's really going to be eight or nine or 10? We just don't know. When he gets back in September, we'll take another look at him, but he hasn't been on a basketball court. It's really premature to try to predict other than try to be optimistic that he'll be ready for opening night or the 15th of November or the 1st of December or the 15th of December."

Kupchak's dueling statements of confidence about the team's talent next year and his uncertainty over his best player's return don't necessarily mesh, but since he can't openly admit the team might not be much good next year, there's really not that much he can say.

In his first interview since Dwight Howard signed with the Houston Rockets, Kupchak said he "kept up hope" the superstar center would sign with his squad, but wasn't shocked he didn't choose to remain in Los Angeles, and was disappointed his team didn't end up on top.

More from SB Nation:

Kenny Anderson reveals being sexually abused

The Dwight Howard Effect

Luis Scola traded to Pacers | Ziller: Pacers may be East’s best

What cap space and exceptions do teams have left?

The top 61 rookies at NBA Summer League

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.