Salary Cap Gymnastics & The Potential of One Last Move

Darius Soriano —  July 14, 2014

I have openly wondered whether or not the Lakers would make another move in this free agent period. My hope, of course, is that they will. In order to sign another impact player, however, it’s important to understand what tools the team still has in their bag to accomplish this goal. With that in mind, I did some research on the Lakers’ cap situation to try and sort out exactly where they stand and what they can still do to improve the roster.

As of Monday, the Lakers have financial commitments — either already on the books or verbally — to nine players. Below are those players and their salary cap numbers (please note that these numbers are pretty rough, but should get us in the ballpark of where the team is payroll wise):

  • Kobe Bryant – $23.5 million
  • Steve Nash – $9.701 million
  • Jeremy Lin – $8.374 million
  • Jordan Hill – $6.770 million (cap hold; salary will go up to $9 million once contract is signed)
  • Julius Randle – $2.497 million (100% of his slotted salary spot; will go up to $2.997 when his contract becomes official)
  • Nick Young – $915K (cap hold; salary will go up to at least $4.5 million in the first year of his contract, could be higher)
  • Ryan Kelly – $1.016 million (this is the amount of Kelly’s qualifying offer that made him a restricted free agent)
  • Robert Sacre – $915K
  • Kendall Marshall – $915K (non-guaranteed salary)

If the Lakers were to renounce the rights to all the other free agents they have on their roster, they would also add cap holds in the form of $500K each for four additional players to bring them up to the minimum roster of 13. Add all these numbers together, including the aforementioned $500K and the Lakers are roughly — again roughly — at a payroll of $55.877 million*. The salary cap for next year is $63.065 million, leaving the Lakers about $7.5 million in cap space.

Of that $7.5 million, Nick Young’s salary eats up a major piece of it. Remember, until he is signed, he is only on the books for the amount of his cap hold. After Young’s salary, the rest of the money is slated to go to Jordan Hill who, like young, will be paid more than the amount of his cap hold. So, basically, the Lakers don’t have any cap space.

Not so fast.

Due to Jordan Hill** not yet signing, the Lakers actually do have cap space. As mentioned above, the difference between his cap hold and his starting salary next season is about $2.3 million. As long as Hill remains unsigned, this difference is cap space the Lakers have at their disposal. Also important is that the Lakers have Hill’s Bird Rights. This means they can go over the salary cap to sign him to his contract as long as they never renounce his free agent rights (meaning his cap hold will remain on the Lakers’ books).

What does this mean? It means that the Lakers have a little bit of wiggle room to chase another free agent. That, however, could be a bigger chunk of room if the Lakers take one last step: waiving Steve Nash via the “stretch provision”. This provision would allow the Lakers to spread out Nash’s salary this season over 3 years, reducing his cap figure to a shade over $3.2 million this season and opening up an additional $6.468 million in cap space.

Suddenly, the Lakers would have around $9 million to chase a free agent. This is not a small number and could, potentially, land a very good player (Lance Stephenson?) or two good, rotation players.

Of course, the Lakers would need to be willing to take the hit on Nash’s contract while essentially paying him to go away all while forfeiting cap space over the next two summers when they would be looking to add to the roster via free agency. Those scenarios inherently mean maximizing cap space and having Nash’s since expired deal still counting against the cap would be a drain. With the cap likely rising the hit wouldn’t be too severe, but it also wouldn’t be nothing.

When looking at this from every angle, I would be okay with using the stretch provision on Nash if the Lakers had a free agent commit to them who was worth it. The only target on the market I could see being worth this is Lance Stephenson since A). he’s an unrestricted free agent and once he commits there is no recourse from the Pacers to match (unlike Eric Bledsoe and Greg Monroe) and B). he is young enough where, if he can be had on a short 2 or 3 year deal (arguable if that is even possible) he can be a good asset in the short term who can be evaluated as a potential long term fit.

That is a lot of ifs and not a sure thing by any means. But the idea is worth exploring. The Lakers are in a position where they have used all their cap space and need to try and explore creative ways to generate more spending to improve the roster on the floor if they are really going to sell people that they are trying to compete for a playoff spot next season. Because as it stands now, filling out this roster with veteran minimum contracts after simply inking Young and Hill to their deals is highly unlikely to be a good team next year***.

*Thanks to Larry Coon and Eric Pincus for help in trying to sort out these numbers and the rules that the Lakers would be trying to navigate. Again, the numbers I have listed should not be taken as gospel, but they are in the ballpark and close enough that they are worth exploring. 

**This is possible to do with Hill, but not Nick Young because the Lakers do not possess Young’s Bird Rights. They also need to fall below the cap to absorb Jeremy Lin’s contract, so Young’s salary must be paid out of cap space.

***There is a strong argument to be made that even by stretching Nash and adding Stephenson, the Lakers wouldn’t be good enough to make the playoffs, so why spend the money? I understand this sentiment and don’t entirely disagree. The West is a minefield and, just like last season, the odds are a good team (or more) miss the playoffs out West. The reason why I’d support signing a guy like Lance is because at some point the Lakers must actually add talent to their roster and build the foundation for a winning team. Lance is not a superstar, but he’s a good player. He has been a fixture of the Pacers’ best lineups the last two seasons and has excellent two way potential.

The Lakers need more players like him if they are to attract quality free agents. Don’t think of it as “will stars come to play with Lance Stephenson?” but rather “will stars come to play on a barren roster devoid of talented players?”. I think the answer to that question is “no” even with the Lakers’ brand and history making the pitch. At some point the Lakers need to start grabbing mid to upper-tier prospects — especially young ones — who can form the nucleus of a good team that superstars want to join or be the base of trades to acquire them.

Darius Soriano

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86 responses to Salary Cap Gymnastics & The Potential of One Last Move

  1. Like blair and Humphreys to round out roster. Monroe would be a nice consolation prize, but doubt it will happen.

  2. I would love to see Stephenson get signed if we clear the space but that still leaves a gaping hole in the roster at SF. Is the plan right now to resign Wesley Johnson as our starter and have nick young off the bench? We have too many guards already with Lin and I expect Clarkson to get a roster spot with how good he has looked so far in summer league.

  3. This is the most rationale and accurate narrative on the Lakers free agency position I have read. Thank you

  4. Nick Van Exile July 14, 2014 at 12:31 pm

    I totally agree about Lance. If he’s willing to sign for something starting at $9 million/year, I’d stretch-waive Nash in a heartbeat, regardless of whether Lance wants 3 or 4 years. A contract of 4 years, $38.5 million (starting salary of $9 million with 4.5% raises each year) is better than Indy’s offer of 5 years, $44 million by about $825K per year.

  5. Great post Darius.
    I hope the Lakers read it!
    I agree as I mentioned yesterday that we need to add at least one more impact player and Lance can be that guy. However if the best we can offer is 9 mil, isn’t that the same annual salary Indiana offered him?
    Not sure he’d come for that.
    We need to show we still want to compete.
    Personally I would have tried to keep Swaggy at like 4 mil for 3-4 years.
    That would have given us the extra mil to take Lance to 10 mil per.

  6. 100% agree Darius, great post. Better to have some talent (by adding Lance) rather than having little. Free agents won’t want to come to a bad roster, but having guys like Randle/Clarkson and Lance would be more enticing. Plus 9 mill a year for Lance isn’t overpaying considering what other guys are getting on the market. One could argue it being a bargain.

  7. Lance will likely play on the wings as a SF if we are to sign him …so wont be a guard lockjam. If he could check LeBron, then he can check any other SF for that matter.

  8. Is there any indication at all that the lakers are speaking w lance’s agent?

  9. You think Phoenix would still match an offer to Bledsoe after signing Isaiah Thomas to add to all the PG’s they have?

  10. Nick Van Exile July 14, 2014 at 12:49 pm

    Since Marshall’s contract is non-guaranteed, can he be waived and re-signed for the minimum at a later date (if he’s needed at all), allowing around $415K to be added to a possible contract for Lance? With a starting salary of $9,415,000, a 4 year contract with 4.5% raises per year comes out to about $40.3 million (about $1.275 million more per year than Indy’s last offer).

  11. So we would have 9 million in cap space
    What about the mid-level? Or mini midlevel – im not sure which we qualify for…

    Also- do we have our biannual exception?

    If so that leaves us with space for:
    – 1 guy at 9 million – or 2 at 4.5m
    – 1 guy at 5 or 3 million
    – 1 guy at 2 million
    – min-level guys
    – allowed to match on ryan kelley

    So in reality we have if we stretch nash, which we should

    Pg – lin, clarkson, kane/marshall ( hopefully kane)
    Sg – kobe, (clarkson)
    Sf – young, kelley, (kobe)
    Pf – randle, (hill), (kelley)
    C – hill, sacre

    Lookong at this roster we have 7 rotation guys in lin, clarkson, kobe, randle, kelly, and hill – yiu cam argue that kelly and clarkson might not he rotation guys but are most likely on our team as of now meaning that we need to sign another 2-3 rotation players and the rest can be mins.

    The 3 most glaring needs are an actual center, a backup sg, and a good sf making lance a very good option for our 9 mil offer …. but given that he could probably sign a 2 year deal with indiana and compete for a championship makes me think he wont leave – he might even get a 10-12 mil offer from charlotte so who else should we target?

    Patric young could be a great min guy to pick up – physical, young, defensive oriented big …. could be worth signing him to be a thomas robinson type guy

  12. As I read this, Stephenson is really the only talent Darius is willing to use the Stretch Provision on Nash for…meaning his talent projects to a possible long term solution for our team.

    If he doesn’t come here we will probably never know if the front office tried to sign him or not. I guess it is ‘wait it out’ time again.

    Remember, the front office would rather Nash play this year and then be completely off the books – everything else being equal.

  13. I should clear a couple of things up to help the digestion of the post above:

    *The Lakers do not have access to the mid-level exception or the bi-annual exception. These exceptions are for teams who never fall below the salary cap line to allow them to still add contracts to their roster beyond the minimum salaried exception. The Lakers needed to go beneath the cap to take on Jeremy Lin’s contract without sending any salary back (in other words, the Lakers took in Lin into their cap space) and to sign Nick Young to his deal (since they do not own his Bird or Early Bird Rights, they need cap space to sign him). There are ways around the Lin issue (they could try to trade Nash to a team with cap space & then acquire Lin by using the resulting Traded Player Exception), but there are not ways to circumvent the cap to get Young’s deal on the books. Thus, they must go below the cap and forfeit these exceptions.

    *The Lakers do not get the mini mid-level exception. This exception is reserved for teams who are luxury tax paying teams to allow them to add a contract to their roster beyond the minimum salaried exception. Since the Lakers will not be a tax paying team this year, this is moot.

    *The Lakers do get what is called the “room exception”. This is an exception for teams who fall below the cap and gives them a small amount (roughly $2.7 million) to sign a free agent to a contract that will allow them to go above the cap. It is my understanding that the Lakers would need to use this exception before Jordan Hill’s deal becomes official, but do not quote me on that.

  14. I doubt that Marshall will be on the team next year, especially with Clarkson and Kane showing flashes this summer and him costing nearly 1 million dollars. Our guard rotation would consist of 2-Kobe/Clarkson/Kane 1-Nash/Lin/Clarkson/Kane. If we are able to bring in Stephenson he could play the 3 with Young and/or Xavier Henry backing him up. We’d have to go small with Hill at the 5, Randle at the 4 with Sacre and Kelly their back ups respectively

  15. There is no reason to get bledsoe, we have 4 point guards. I am a little concerned about us not having a coach. I wonder if they are speaking to Jeff Van Gundy and hoping to get him if he likes the roster.

  16. We can trade nash and a pick that we got from houston to someone willing to take nash contract and we got nothing back. Thats what im thinking mitch is tryin to do

  17. Love the analysis. I believe I saw Pincus tweet that we could use the “room exception” in addition to the estimated 2.3 mil in cap space but these two maneuvers would be separate entities and could not be combined. I’m going to throw out some names and I want to see what some people think. I know these are flawed players but they have shown flashes of being solid rotation players.
    Xavier Henry (most likely will come back for the min. and lack of interest from other teams, already will supposedly have a private workout for us before exploring other options)
    Bynum/Oden (health obviously and issue but for the min. could be low risk high reward type guys and we’re in desperate need of any semblance of a rim protector_
    Ed Davis (young big, former lottery pick, stuck behind some solid bigs in Mem)
    Beasley/Evan Turner/Al-Fariq Aminu (first two are volume scorers sure but they’re still young and it’s not too late for them to turn it around, several months ago it looked like Turner was set for a large pay day. Aminu can’t shoot but I’d much rather have him than Wes Johnson again. Better rebounder, defender and doesn’t take maddening jump shots)

  18. If Stephenson has already turned down a shade less than $9 million a year, I question whether the Lakers can really get into the chase. (Larry Bird’s prior offer was reportedly five-year and $44 million.) If the market says Josh McRoberts is worth four years an $23 million, what is Lance worth on the open market?

    Darius — a cap-related question I’ve not seen come up recently… With these recent moves, where do the Lakers potentially stand with regard to the new CBA’s so-called “repeater” provision?

    I vaguely recall there being some escalating dollar-for-dollar tax for going over the cap in successive seasons, but that said cap would reset if a team was under/even with the cap for a period of time… My description may be fuzzy but I am sure you (or someone) could offer some insight into where the Lakers are with regard to that provision, and/or where they appear headed.

  19. i think a good comp for jordan clarkson is george hill.

  20. If Clarkson’s shooting woes last season were a result of family issues, if I remember right his father was diagnosed with a serious disease and that is when his shooting fell off a cliff, I think he could be a very good starting PG in a year or two.

    We have no idea what Kobe is going to look like in the next few seasons but there is absolutely no precedence for a SG to remain elite 20 years into his career. Literally, there is no precedence for it and Kobe has had a catastrophic injury. That is an added problem for anyone to believe that Kobe will be a top-30 player in 2015.

    It looks as though Byron Scott is going to be our next coach and there is no precedence for his being able to maximize talent. He took a Jason Kidd led Nets to the finals while coaching them through the weakest schedule in the league and then lost convincingly to the Lakers. He took a team with the best PG in the league in CP3, and then David West, and Tyson Chandler into the second round of the playoffs and then was fired by that team and the Cavs because neither FO thought he was developing the team. He has a lifetime 44% winning percentage and that is inflated by the Nets record built on a weak schedule. I think he is a bad coach. So, I’m not really seeing any reason to think Scott is going to make the Lakers a good team.

    If you look at the Lakers history and recent history as regards the league in general, teams need to gather assets to be successful and those assets can then be used to entice a FA or trade for a significant player.

    I’m excited to see Randle develope. I think Kelly is an interesting player. Clarkson may turn out to be a steal. Obviously Kobe coming back will be fun. If the Lakers bring in Lance, they better have coaches and players who know how to support a player through their maturation process. Otherwise he will be a negative on a team with enough problems as it is.

    That said, with Lance or without, the Lakers are not likely to make the playoffs. They might be a fun team and we may get to see a developing chemistry (if a good coach is hired) but we won’t likely be a playoff team. The best we can hope for is that Houston struggles (Ariza may actually improve their defense but we’ll see) and our pick from them is in the high teens and that we just miss the playoffs but win a top three pick in the lottery (obviously not likely). Meanwhile Randle, Kelly, Clarkson and a cheap FA show they belong (very possible), Kobe stays healthy, Young stays consistent and Byron Scott proves me wrong. We get some good picks next season and now we are a team with assets. That sort of team can attract top-tier FAs and while Lance could be another asset, and I enjoy his antics (I don’t see a big difference between what he pulls and some of Westbrook’s celebrations) we have to be careful not to bring in guys who might repel FAs rather than attract them.

  21. When looking for a coach, I’d keep in mind the available free agents for next year and hire accordingly.

    However, I would not look at just the 3-4 retreads. I would look at all possibilities, even from the high school ranks. If going that route, offer a one year deal.

  22. I am a huge advocate for Kane on the roster myself but with Mark Madsen as coach of the summer league roster, it sounds like he doesn’t know what he has on his hands in terms of personnel. Should be getting more minutes and Madsen may not realize that. Below is a pretty good summary of the game from yesterday, also speaking to a degree about the dysfunction of the team under Mark.

    Shaun, please no Patric Young. The guy does not enjoy playing basketball, he has barely improved over the years as a player. We do not need a guy on the roster who merely wants to collect a paycheck. Trust me on this when I say I have this info from the very highest order of Florida basketball. Young would rather be a lawyer than a basketball player. True Story

  23. @Chris J, Lakers will drop below the Luxury tax line for the next two years, so no fear of going over.

    I would not stretch Nash. Why have $3 million on the books for three more years when you are just getting a so so player. Better to have him come off the cap and get more money for future FAs. Lance is not happening. He turned down less than $9 million a year to a team that was the second best in the east. So he takes less money to fight to make the playoffs (remember players get a playoff bonus money). Oh and this is a guy who has never made big money. Only if the Pacers just decide to move on would he come to the Lakers (and everything I have read is that the Lakers are really looking at him).

  24. I work in Marina Del Rey and I see Ed Davis in my shop all the time so he is out here right now

  25. Nick Van Exile July 14, 2014 at 2:11 pm

    Chris J: The repeater tax starts this year and it’s only for teams that were taxpayers in all of the previous seasons. Since the Lakers won’t be taxpayers this year, it wouldn’t apply to them. For 2015-16, it’s for taxpayers in 3 of the previous 4 seasons. This would only apply to the Lakers if they were in the luxury tax for 2015-16.

    Lakers17: I think it would be very hard for a coach, with any level of experience, to get player buy-in on a 1 year deal. Since coaching salaries aren’t restricted by the salary cap and the Lakers are so profitable, there should be no reason for them not to use some of that TWC money on coaching (in a similar vein, they are building that new training facility in El Segundo). Even if whomever they hire as coach doesn’t work out, firing him before his contract is up and hiring a new coach won’t even make a dent in their profits.

  26. I agree that kane needs more minutes in summer league – really hoping marshall just gets cut

    Wow – sucks that we dont have access to these exceptions but I guess we would still have room For 2-3 guys based on a nash stretch and our room exception and really thats all we need.

    George karl is the guy we need – has developed multiple guys – payton, kemp, ray allen, lawson … will play an uptempo game focusing on a penetrating guard which we have the 2nd best driver in the league in lin (ranked 2nd in pts per drive next to lebron) , and clarkson seems to be in that mold + coached energetic bigs in kemp and faried which could be similar to randle and hill

    If we were trying to dump nashs contract we could have almost anyone on denver – they have too many guys making 10ish a year for multiple years

    Also, really liking watching the knicks play summer league – triangle love forever + good group of young guys in hardaway, larkin, thannis, early

  27. Berdj J. Rassam July 14, 2014 at 2:23 pm

    So far, the Lakers have basically lost Gasol and gained Lin plus Randle. More rebuilding and sub.500 to come in 2014.

  28. @ P. Ami, That is a weird way to look at Scott. The east was bad this year, but getting the Heat or the Pacers to the conference finals is not a mark on their resumes. Taking a Nets team that had no business being in the finals to the finals shouldn’t be a knock.

    And look at the CP3 Scott teams. They never got as far with Scott as they did without him. And that was with CP3 and David West improving each year.

    No coach looks good with the Cavs. They are poorly run top to bottom.

    Now with that being said I don’t think Scott is a top tier coach. I think he is an average NBA coach and that is not bad (not great either). Scotts biggest thing is he has always done well with coach PGs. Look at that like: Kidd (had his MVP years while Scott coached him), CP3 (Got as far as he currently has ever gotten), and Kyrie (who hasn’t improved since Byron was fired). Scotts biggest problem seems to be that he is much like Scott Skies in that teams start well and then get sick of hearing from him 3 years in (by that point Kobe is retired and the Lakers would have an entirely new team probably). So this is good for Clarkson. For everyone else it is pretty much average. Scott is equal to about 15-20 head coaches, above 5-10 or so of the bad ones and well below the elite coaches.

  29. I’m a die heart Laker fan first and foremost. I truly feel like instead of chasing the pieces we truly and honestly need we played ourselves waiting on Carmelo Anthony. Truth be told who we really should have tried to get with Trevor Ariza. We should have kept Chris Kaman and Jordan Farmar Pau Gasol leaving us really hurt us deeply even if most don’t realize it yet.

  30. “barren roster devoid of talented players” : I see your point, however to move away from a barren roster, it should be done with players that are either cheap (Randle), or somehow fit in as a universal teammate for any potential super star. Nick Young and Lance Stephenson are not the first guys that come to mind in the later category. Perhaps better than totally barren, but not too much, seeing as the less barren you are also means less money to spend. So if we spend on our16 cap, we better sped wisely. Not sure if Young was wise and not sure Stephenson would be. He strikes more as an add on, not a foundation piece.
    Coach: Are you guys still beating this dead horse? I told you already – it is Byron. Let’s move on :

  31. severelakers,

    Maybe you can recruit him. I think the guy is a decent big.

    I, like many others, am on board with trying to get Stephenson if it is possible.

  32. Thanks, Darius; appreciate the extra leg work to provide us insight on where the Lakers stand re: the cap currently. Hopefully Mitch is working furiously to get at least one more promising young talent onto the team before the year starts.

  33. As much as Marshall was a bright spot and a feel good story for us last year, I don’t see him being needed on the team going forward. As a few have mentioned Clarkson already looks more impressive than Marshall (albeit in a small sample size) and looks to earn the 3rd string guard spot. As of now I see Lin getting 30+ minutes a night, Nash 15-20 when healthy and Clarkson getting garbage minutes. Marshall can still play a role if Nash gets dealt or ends up DNP

  34. Here’s the thing. The Lakers don’t want to be a bubble team next season hovering around 9th place. Either be a top five or six playoff team or bottom out. I think we are looking at the bottom out strategy. They missed on the big dogs so they may as well pack it in and get ready for another tough season. Because a starting five of Lin, Kobe, Young, Randle, and Sacre will get manhandled on a nightly basis in the Western Conference.

    Its tough medicine, but at this point I’m fine with it. We can’t get back the FA’s who walked for nothing. We can’t do a draft do over. We can’t replay the last few games of last season so the Lakers could move up and take Exum or possibly Parker. We can’t undo the D’Antoni era. May as well stink again next season and (hopefully) get a couple of good draft picks.

  35. I’m not very hopeful the Lakers could get any worthwhile enough assets to bother bending over so far backwards to do it. It is interesting though.

  36. maurice powell July 14, 2014 at 4:50 pm

    When your plan A is constantly changing that means you don’t have a plan, lakers management went from talking about this years free agency class to leaping ahead and taking aim at the projected 2016 class, that’s a not a plan, that’s more like prayer, adding younger pieces on the verge is a much better way to attract established stars vs cap space and 16 banners.

  37. Below is the order of finish for the Western Conference last year. I tried to add each team’s records but it became too hard to read. I asked myself, where will this current Lakers team finish this year?

    San Antonio
    Oklahoma City
    L.A. Clippers
    Golden State
    New Orleans
    L.A. Lakers

    In short – I don’t see how we make the Playoffs. The Western conference is loaded. Of the teams that moved forward last year I can’t pick one that would fall out of the top 8 seeds.

    Even if San Antonio had a down year they still finish top three. Houston may be incrementally worse off without Parsons but Ariza isn’t chopped liver so worst case they drop 1 or two spots. Dallas finished 8th last year but has added both Parsons and Chandler.

    Of the teams that missed the playoffs Phoenix, Denver, New Orleans and Utah all have improved their young teams – either through the draft or by anticipating a full year of production from key players (Bledsoe in Phoenix and Gallinari in Denver).

    I can imagine only Minnesota (if they go for young talent in a trade with Love) or Sacramento (where new management may take a step back to change course) having worse seasons than last year. However, they both have more talent on their rosters than we do – and it’s not really close.

    I tend to be a positive person but we may be looking at a last place team in the Lakers, even with everyone healthy. If Kobe or Nash miss any time or are non-productive we will certainly have a worse record than last year.

  38. Alan anderson signed for 3 million over 2 years – would have been a great pickup for us

    Also, randolph from the bulls got traded and waived to the magic for 2 2md round picks – if we are acumilating assets why did we not do this trade? Possibly bad blood from the pau negotiations?

  39. Houston will drop more than 1-2 spots – lost parsons, lin, and asik who are 3 of their top 5 players behind harden and dwight + ariza wont create off the bounce like parsons ….. big step back for them .. they now have no backup pg, sg, or c with limited options available like us

    Depending on what happens with minnestoa they will either drop behind us or stay in the 10th range – I dont get what they are waiting for they pretty much have no leverage with love … hes gonna walk like dwight if he stays the whole year and no way they get more for him at the deadline than now because lile now he cam simply say I wont resign there and poof goes minnestoas plans

  40. T. Rogers: I am with you and this is what I have been calling the multi year tank. If we had a clean cap, Randle, a top pick, and a couple of other picks, to me that could be attractive to an incoming FA. Or we could sign another FA this summer; have less cap space, finish in 8th or 9th which means we would not have the top 5 pick, and have guys like Young and Stephenson on the roster (the more I think about Young – the more I think he is exactly who a superstar does not want on the roster. Not even sure he will co-exist with KB next year).

  41. Todd: Thanks for making me feel sick about the upcoming season. Yes, you are correct making the playoffs is a long shot.

    This Laker FO really frustrates me. If Plan A (Melo and Lebron) was such a long shot why even pursue it? I had long thought (and preached to anyone who would listen) that Melo was fool’s gold. A better more sure path would have been to pursue Stephenson and Monroe from the outset. Even if we had to overpay on a three year deal it would have been worth it to obtain two 23/24 year olds with upside. Adding in Randle and the Lakers would have had a young core to build on.

    Now, it seems that Plan B is to be mediocre. If the FO was so willing to write this year off why didn’t they go all it? Meeks, Kaman, and Pau were let go for nothing. They all should have been in sign and trade deals extracting young talent, or first/second round picks.

    Why resign Young? He should have been in a S&T deal as well. Why sign Hill? So he could be our 6′ 9″ 230 pound center? He should have been in a S&T deal too. This middle of the road path that the FO is trying to walk is silly. It delays the inevitable (rebuild) and it takes away valuable pieces (picks and young talent) that would be assets to use to get better.

  42. Robert,

    Young and Stephenson are not the same kinds of guys. Stephenson is six years younger, plays D, has a more complete game, and is better. If you don’t want him because you don’t like the personality baggage and the cost, fine, but he is not the same class of player as Nick Young. Again–the NBA is not stars and clowns, and nothing else.

    As far as cap space and attracting FAs, I think the takeaway of the recent FA decisions is simple: guys want to feel like they can win, but other than that–it comes down to the guy and his own thing. So, I don’t think we can say that having another Top 5 pick, or having a guy like Stephenson,.or having Scott, or having another coach, will necessarily draw a particular FA. A 10th place finish with a guy like Stephenson in the lineup might look better to some FAs than 15th place and a pick would. No way to know.

  43. Clarkson will be the starting PG by All-star break

  44. We do absolutely need both B Scott and Lance Stephenson, as it is, this season may out bore the last depending on player/coach Kobe.

    I’m much less a fan of mad-dog as a coach.

  45. I have just come to face it, next year we will be good enough to probably get a low twenties draft pick, and that will go to Phoenix, then we will be done with giving them a pick, from then on. That just leaves giving Orlando the other first round draft pick that we owe them. Now, the front office just has to stop giving away our first round draft picks, so that we can get decent young rotation players on the cheap. I do not think we will be bad enough to get 1 thru 5 next year. I think I will be watching more Laker games than I did last season, and last season I did not care if a Laker game was on that night or not, but that has now changed.

  46. Several Free Agents interest me right now. We need bigs and don’t laugh Kris Humphries, Andre Blatche, Jason Smith (waived by NO) and Emeka Okafor are all available. I can see Smith and Okafor going for one year minimums. The other player I would like to spend a flyer on is Brandon Rush. It will take him a little to get back into shape, but the guy led the league in 3 point accuracy one year and we could always use shooting. Especially if we let Nash go after already losing Meeks and Farmar (our top three point shooters).

  47. Patric young just signed a 2 year deal with the Pelicans so hes off the list.

  48. I have constantly watched Wiggins and I constantly am waiting to see him take over a game but he never does. He has incredible talent but half the time he looks disinterested it’s head scratching. He has the tools to take over any game so why doesn’t he?

  49. Leo

    Denial. It’s not that river. It’s the story of the Lakers under Jim Buss the last 2 years.

    Might as will just pkay Power Bsll Jimmy. Better chance.

  50. Game on. We still have no coach.

  51. rr: To explain my position with previous Laker teams. Let’s say the previous championship teams did not have superstars and we were “building a foundation” waiting for the stars to arrive:
    80’s: I would build with Rambis and AC Green. I would not build with Bob McAdoo
    Shaq/Kobe: I would build with Fish, Fox, George. Not with Rice
    Kobe/Gasol: I would build with Trevor, Odom, Brown not with Metta

    To be clear – I really liked McAdoo, Rice, and Metta. I just think they are finishing pieces not foundational. I feel the same about Stephenson. Young is just a mistake. I think they just signed him in case KB gets hurt they are going to insert Young. KB and Young on the same court is going to be like a lion and a hyena going after the same gazelle.

  52. Robert,

    Again: Stephenson is 23. Metta was 30 when he came here, and McAdoo was 31. Rice was 32.

  53. Robert: I’m not being critical of your recent comment. However, every player you chose not to be foundational was 31 or above when they were with the Laker teams you mentioned. The players you chose to build around were 28 or younger.

    From my perspective, Stephenson would have been my #1 off season target. He is 23 years old and has immense game. I think Kobe would have provided the right guidance to help him channel his talent. Stephenson should have been a no brainer for the Lakers.

  54. Mitch Is talking court side to George Karl right now at the game………

  55. Eric

    No. That is Karl Malden he is talking to.

  56. Really bad news.

    Best looking guy on summer league team today is Marshall.


  57. KO
    That’s not what Dave McMenamin Just tweeted

  58. T Rogers I’m sorry but your complaints about the draft is dead wrong. Randle will be a very good player and will be better than exum

  59. KO I had no idea you were joking about Karl Malden, never heard of the guy before you mentioned him. You must be much older than me lol

  60. What’s the deal with anyone wearing a no. 8 jersey on the Lakers. I know it’s summer league , but still.

  61. I guess even the Lakers are disrespecting Kobe now, Are they trying to make him ask for a trade or something. Lol

  62. I think the Lakers will try to leverage Lin’s ethnic background with Kobe’s popularity in China somehow to generate additional handsome profits rather than wins. Same motivation as Kobe’s contract, not so coincidently. They won less than 30 games last year and were the most profitable NBA franchise last season, by far and away. How about another year of financial success and competitive failure? It’s kind like maxing out one’s credit cards for living expenses: sooner or late the bill comes due. But for now, feels great! Enjoy, Jimmy.

  63. Eric

    Don’t ask.

  64. What’s up with these summer league jerseys? Never been a fan of the sleeved ones, but these ones are the worst I’ve seen of those. They don’t look they fit anyone. They look like pajamas. And the color of the shorts don’t match.

  65. Darius why did you block me on twitter. I never have said anything negative to you?

  66. Great 1st step on Randel.

    Clarkson really quick.

    Both gonna play minutes. Clarkson could be steal of draft. Like him better then Exum so far.

    Get these guys a top teaching coach and Lakers have a big positive.

  67. Stephenson is the type of guy I would want to know who my coach was first. Phil was able to manage difficult personalities and turn them into assets. Other coaches get run over by guys like this and allow them to poison the locker room.

    I think the Lakers desperately need a shot blocker

  68. Sounds like this was pretty exciting for a summer league game, based on Tweets I saw etc.

  69. Just watched the highlights on the sidebar.

  70. First time i have a long look at our draftees, color me impressed. Some people complain that Julius is “undersized” well he is quicker than expected and can take his man off the dribble from around 17 feet out. Thats gonna be handy. Can bump and score too btw he looks like a bull. And that Clarkson was picked 46 is beyond me look like a 1st rounder, the kid can create off the dribble and has a nice 3 point stroke. They looked focused and intense, i bet Kobe will like that. I think these two kids can help right away which is exactly what the Lakers need.Very pleased with the rooks. They look NBA ready.

  71. I also mentioned above they looked good. Please don’t forget. Not one guy on GS tonight will be on their team come opening day. This was really a D-League rookie game.

    That being said they both showed quickness and great potential. Randel might have issues playing against real NBA hus rebounding so far is nit goid and his last 8 minutes with 3 TO were crazy bad,

    Clarkson actually showed me more as a 6’5 PG. Who could defend and score.

  72. So what do you want from this LAKER team next year?
    A. Make the playoff?
    B. Just miss the playoffs?
    C. Just finish high enough to lose our 1st round pick?
    D. Finish at the bottom to make sure we keep our 1st round pick?

    If you pick A or B you are in denial. The Lakers wont be close
    There is only one sensible answer, and it is not “C”

  73. there’s nothing sensible about being a fan of a basketball team.

  74. X- the reality is that the won’t have to tank to finish with a miserable record. The talent level is so low that they simply won’t be good enough to win more than 25 games.

  75. Marlon Brando July 15, 2014 at 3:25 am

    I’m impressed with randle’s touch around the rim. He knows he’s not the tallest or longest guy on the floor, and I see him continuously arc his shot high off the glass where a longer defender can’t reach. If you watch his high school and college highlights, you can see he’s worked on this shot for some time. Nice awareness by the youngster. His first step and face up game look promising, not to mention that post spin move that looks awfully similar to a clipper PF I keep hearing about. Not expecting him to be a savior, but this 19 year old kid can ball. I’m pleasantly surprised. Let’s just see more effort on the glass.

    Side note, crazy to think Julius wasn’t even two years old when Kobe was drafted. Smh

  76. Kendall Marshall is done. No need to waste a roster spot on him. Clarkson (steal of draft) and Randel are clearly the best players on the Summer League roster. What happened to Roddy Beaubois? Dude looks horrible compared to these rookies.

  77. Updated list of available free agents

    Heres a list of guys left

    A other guy that could be good as an sf is jae crowder -played well in limited mins for dallas – defends well and shoots the 3 well

  78. Guys not to worry about Julius rebounding, that is one component of his game that will always be there. He is still working his way into game shape and usually when players are tired they don’t crash the glass as hard. Remember on a loaded Kentucky frontcourt he managed to finish with the second most double doubles as a freshmen only behind Beasley.

    It’s funny reading some of the comments here compared to reading what Lakers fans on other sites like Silver screen and Roll will say about Randle. Guys here complain about his length but many on other sites have noted that Randle has insane body control for a guy his size which he uses to evade defenders, he is a bull and has the ability to knock the defender off his spot creating separation too. As others here have noted here his touch is impeccable and he can finish in a variety of ways in the paint. Let’s remember it’s not like Shaq had this insane lift on him in terms of athleticism, he just had really great footwork and really great post moves and touch. When a guy can execute a drop step or hook shot properly there isn’t a whole lot a defender can do to stop it.

    I think everyone is beginning to see that Julius has an insane first step and when he is given space to operate, even if you overplay him he STILL has the ability to blow by guys. Very few PFs in the league will be able to stay in front of him (Griffin being one of the few). People are also seeing he has playmaking ability as he the tools to be a Lamar Odom type player but with more power. That’s why I termed him a point forward because he has the ability bring the ball up the floor or lead a fast break himself. The Lakers Nation account tweeted out last night “Watching Randle handle the ball is almost like watching Lamar in ’09. Scary.” Continually you will hear people say that they underestimated his athleticism. This is probably his most underrated aspect, I think because some ignorant scout called him Zach Randolph people thought he couldn’t jump but that is clearly incorrect.

    Even his defense (which some here as described as bad) has been raved about because of his lateral quickness. Ben Rosales of Silver Screen and Roll said that Randle has been surprisingly something of a rim protector. As athletic as he is someone telling me he can’t be a good defender is hilarious, all it takes it effort, learning the tricks of the trade and applying yourself in that area.

    The few negatives are that sometimes he has a tendency to try to do too much and gets out of control (which is why he had turnovers last night, but this was his problem last year at Kentucky as well). Learning to play more controlled will come and having other scorers on the floor will prevent this too. And just like most players he tends to favor his dominant hand so he will need to get better about going right. Lastly something we all knew, his outside shooting is a work in progress but he will improve in that area, he has a nice stroke and will get better and he will gain confidence now that he is allowed to shoot them. Grant Hill compared Randle to a much more athletic nimble Anthony Mason at the game last night.

    Basically Julius has the potential, now he just needs to refine his game. If he can you are looking at a Blake Griffin/Lamar Odom combination.

  79. Hey Darius: can’t believe I’m watching nba summer league basketball. This has got to be a first for me but really enjoyed the final outcome of last night’s win over golden state with jordan clarkson’s tip-in of julius randle’s miss at the the buzzer in overtime. that holiday guy from golden state shoots and looks like a poor man’s kevin durant and that’s not a bad thing in today’s nba.

    so now it’s been reported that the lakers are looking for possibly two (more weeks) before selecting a head coach for their basketball team. it’s beyond a slap in the face and looking more like a kick in the pants. so if not byron scott, then who? this coming from a front office who just failed to land a free agent. It’s not looking bad, it’s looking pathetic. But, we always got Hope and Prayer and Patience and Luck and Tradition and, and, and…wouldn’t be surprising to me that a prospective head coach (byron scott) should say, thanks, but no thanks.

    so if not scott, then a mark Jackson with a side of jeff van gundy (as assistant) might bring some creditability to the laker sidelines. i’m trying to envision what that would look like when mark jackson is ejected as a result of a technical foul or two and jeff van gundy has to stand in for the duration of a game or two or three during the course of the upcoming season. not to mention the experience they together can impart on a relative young laker team….hard to envision, not impossible. to me, they would have to be a twofer.

    Go lakers !

  80. I’m probably the most vocal critic of Randle. I have in past comments recognized some of his strengths as well.
    Pluses: Lateral defense, Driving to the hoop, should be able to stretch the floor
    Weaknesses: Size & Length, Low Defensive IQ

    I’m expecting him to be fairly good at getting points playing away from the basket, but I think he will have problems on offense posting up, as well guarding the post on the other end. I think his rebounding numbers will drop somewhat as longer players are going tap the ball away from him.

    Considering his strengths and weaknesses I would expect at some point the Lakers may ask him to try being a SF where his weaknesses won’t be as much of an issue.

  81. Nick Van Exile July 15, 2014 at 10:02 am

    Some things about tanking to try to keep that top-five pick next year:
    1) The Lakers could have one of the 5 worst records in the NBA and still get bumped out in the lottery. The only way the Lakers would be guaranteed a top 5 pick is if they had the 1st or 2nd worst record.
    2) The Lakers could have the 6th to 14th worst records and still jump several teams into a top 3 pick in the lottery.
    3) The Sixers had a 26 GAME LOSING STREAK (tied for longest in NBA history!) and STILL did NOT end up with the worst record in the NBA last year.
    4) The Lakers had a historic season of missed games due to injury and still ended up with 27 wins and the 7th pick.
    5) There are small market teams (that aren’t FA destinations) that may have similar talent to the Lakers that will decide to tank because they think that is their only avenue to rebuild.
    6) There are many more bad teams in the East. Even if the Lakers finish last in the West, they may not even have one of the 5 worst records in the NBA.

    The point is that tanking to keep that top 5 pick is going to be hard and is going to require a lot of bad luck (the injury bug again) and good luck (ping pong ball magic). You could see it last year when the Lakers won those two games at the end of the season. Those games were meaningless as the Lakers were already long out of the playoff hunt and most likely, those two wins hurt the Lakers chances in the draft, but the players and coach didn’t care about draft position. Do you think Kobe cares about draft position? Do you think whomever they hire as coach cares about draft position? Cleveland was trying to make the playoffs but ended up with the first pick again. Tanking is hard and is not a guarantee of anything except unwatchable games for that team’s fans. Why should paying customers care about and support a team that is intentionally not doing all it can to provide a winning team for its fans?

    I would much rather the Lakers try to win as many games as they can (whether they make the playoffs or not), collect tradeable assets, and be ready to make deals like Houston did (using those tradeable assets) instead of suffer through multiple seasons of tanking like the Sixers are subjecting their fans to. This notion that the only way to rebuild is to bottom out and tank is simply not true, especially when you are a big market team.

    Sorry for the rant but tanking is just not good for the game and the NBA really needs to do something to prevent teams from tanking and not competing.

    I like what I’ve seen of Clarkson and Randle in SL. Clarkson plays more like a SG to me so I would still keep Marshall as backup PG. I don’t think we can count on Steve Nash’s corpse to play more than 15-20 games next year.

  82. Actually Vasheed is the only person who doesn’t like randle

    A few of us have expressed doubts about Randle, Vasheed most vocally. Also, Fern’s hahaha about Vonleh’s 0/13 on the other thread was inaccurate. No one championed Vonleh, much less many people. I think I was about the only person who said that I would prefer Vonleh over Randle and even I said I was not sure. The FO may well have been right on that.

    Randle’s size and quickness are a nice combo, but there are other reasons to be cautious. He is certainly going to get a full shot to show what he can do, given the Lakers’ personnel.

  83. Marc Stein ?@ESPNSteinLine 11m
    Story going online now detailing how Rockets AND Lakers called w/max offers for Nowitzki, but he rebuffed all outside interest to stay w/DAL

  84. Nowitzki is signing for 3/25 with Dallas. And no, my relaying this is not an attack on Kobe Bryant, or on Carmelo Anthony, who also went for the money even though the team’s roster is not strong.

  85. Man Darius, I was REALLY hoping that the Lakers would get Lance but the Lakers brass dropped the ball (yet again) and let him go to the Hornets. The only consolation now would be to get Evan Turner for about 4-5mil and Ed Davis to back up Randle. What’s your opinion on Turner & Davis?

  86. Dencio,
    I am not a fan of Evan Turner’s. He’s not a good defensive player and is a guy who only seems to be able to do even solid offensive work as an isolation worker. When he went to Indy I thought he could be a good off-set to their stagnant O by at least offering to create in possessions when Paul George or Lance weren’t in the game. But he couldn’t even do that well and was so bad defensively they couldn’t even keep him on the floor. Looks like he got numbers in Philly being a go-to guy on a bad team. But a lot of guys in the league could do that.

    As for Davis, I think he’s a solid player who could still develop into a Jordan Hill type contributor. Good, not great, on the glass, can offer some back line defensive presence, and has a good enough offensive game to not be a minus on that end of the floor. For a big who will likely make in the 2-4 million a year range, I think he’s a good investment. I wouldn’t mind the Lakers inquiring on him as another big, though I think he would need to be more of a C on this roster since I do believe Randle and Kelly will be the players who get most of the PF minutes.