The Lakers front office is facing a complicated offseason. Avoiding these three free agents is crucial to Los Angeles’ success.
The presence of LeBron James and Anthony Davis on the Lakers roster gives Los Angeles’ glitziest team a chance to win an NBA Title anytime their star-studded duo stays healthy. That doesn’t mean Rob Pelinka and his front office don’t have a lot of heavy lifting to do this offseason if they want to maximize their title chances for the 2021-22 campaign.
Dennis Schroder and Alex Caruso are both headed to unrestricted free agency which could put a big dent in the team’s backcourt rotation. Schroder turned down a big-money offer from Los Angeles during the season and will be looking to cash in this summer. Caruso won’t be looking for the same salary, but a host of title contenders could target him as a cost-effective option to strengthen their rosters.
The restricted free agency of Talen Horton-Tucker also presents an interesting challenge for the Lakers. The team clearly wants to keep him in the fold for the long haul, but another team might make him a lucrative offer in restricted free agency that becomes painful for Los Angeles to match.
The key for the Lakers’ summer plans will be maximizing their short-term title chances without overcommitting to deals that will limit their flexibility moving forward. Avoiding these three free agents would be a good place for Los Angeles to start.
3. Elfrid Payton
If Schroder doesn’t return the Lakers will be left scrambling for quality options to soak up minutes at point guard. Payton has enjoyed some serviceable moments during his professional career, but he’s an awful stylistic fit with this team.
The Lakers need to find a lead guard who can help space the floor with his jump shooting ability. The ball is going to be in James’ hands during crunch time. Acquiring a lead guard like Payton who doesn’t help the team’s spacing would be a misuse of funds by Pelinka and his staff.