From Elizabeth Benson, Lakers Nation: The Los Angeles Lakers are facing yet another busy offseason this year. The sixteen-time champions will be trying to create a roster that gives them the best chance of hanging their seventeenth championship banner from the rafters of Staples Center. However, they will be doing so by facing a ton of uncertainty this summer, especially in late June through early July, due to some big decisions that will be made by both management and the players themselves. One of those questions is in regards to whether or not the Lakers will use their amnesty clause this year. Per the new collective bargaining agreement, a team can use a one-time amnesty clause on a player, and the salary of that waived player will not count toward the salary cap or luxury tax.
From C.A. Clark, Silver Screen & Roll: It’s no secret that the Los Angeles Lakers will probably need to forge a new path to the next era of franchise dominance. After all, their current roster (one which failed miserably last year) is all but locked in place to take one more shot before being utterly and completely decimated. Barring wholesale changes, the Lakers will probably fail next season as well, and there will be nobody left under contract for any further attempts. This is good thing because, with an aging roster that can’t get the morning paper without pulling a hamstring, few franchises need to press the reset button as much as LA needs to.
From Brett Polakoff, Pro Basketball Talk: If you were going to try to rank all of Kobe Bryant‘s best shots from his amazing 17 years in the NBA, it would be a massive undertaking that would last weeks to get through them all and sort them in order of degree of difficulty, overall meaning, or importance. As recently as this past season, Bryant had a memorable array of them in a single come-from-behind, overtime win over the Raptors — a game I happened to be fortunate enough to witness in person. Bryant’s ultimate legacy will be many things, but making extremely challenging shots in the game’s biggest moments will definitely be near the top of that list. It may be surprising, then, to learn that Bryant himself has a mere pair of free throws in a regular season game ranked as high as any on his own personal career ledger.
From Dave McMenamin, ESPN: Kobe Bryant shuffled into a conference room on the second floor of the Los Angeles Lakers’ practice facility Monday with crutches under his arm and special Nike “Medical Mambas” on his feet and sat down for a near 30-minute interview with ESPNLosAngeles.com. The discussion included a wide range of topics, including Bryant’s thoughts on his rehab, Dwight Howard and Phil Jackson comparing him to Michael Jordan that have already been covered on the site. Here’s the best of the rest:
From Eric Pincus, LA Times: The Lakers are trying to prepare for Dwight Howard’s free-agency decision, whether he chooses to stay with the team long term or leave for another franchise.”It’s the one decision we have to wait on,” said General Manager Mitch Kupchak in an interview with Mike Trudell of Lakers.com. “Then we will try to have a Plan A, Plan B, Plan C depending on what happens.”The Lakers hope Howard chooses to re-sign for what could be a $118-million, five-year contract. “I think this is the best city to live in with the best fans in the NBA,” said Kupchak.”There are certain things that you remind [Howard] of or talk to him about, and you hope that it plays in your favor.” In the meantime, the Lakers can prepare for the draft on June 27 and free agency on July 1, but there’s only so much to be done until they know Howard’s decision.”It moves quickly, so it’s not like you can go to a Plan B with certainty. There will be 29 other teams looking to improve their teams on July 1,” he said. “We spend a lot of time on those what-ifs, contingency plans.”