In the lead up to free agency, one of the main concepts I heard about most from fans was the timeline of the Lakers’ young core. As the argument goes, the best way for the Lakers to continue to build the team is to seek out players of similar ages to their already existing young core.

LA needs a center, try to get 27 year old Hassan Whiteside or 23 year old Bismack Biyombo. Need a small forward? Look at 24 year old Allen Crabbe, 24 year old Harrison Barnes, 23 year old Maurice Harkless, or even 27 year old Kent Bazemore. These players, the argument goes, could grow with the Lakers’ young core so that when Russell, Randle, Clarkson, and Ingram are more mature and ready to win, the Lakers could potentially have an entire rotation of players in various stages of their respective primes.

All of this sounds great and makes total sense. In some cases, I have even argued for it myself.

In the wake of the Lakers signing soon to be 30 year old Timofey Mozgov and 31 year old Luol Deng — besides the case against paying them what the Lakers are (this applies more to Mozgov) for the number of years they are — the most frequent criticism I have heard about the signings is that neither player is on the young core’s timeline. When the Lakers’ young core is ready to win, these critics say, Mozgov and Deng will be too old or no longer very good.

While there’s a certain logic to this, my counter to this argument is…why should we really care about that?

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The Lakers made some waves — and received some scorn — for handing out some rich contracts to Timofey Mozgov and Luol Deng in the first two days of free agency. While there are plusses and minuses to each deal and on-court fit, there was still an open question of whether either contract could become a more team friendly one via the presence of team options for the 4th year of either deal.

Sam Amick of USA Today is reporting that is not the case for either contract.

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We knew the Lakers had a need for a wing. While they just drafted Brandon Ingram, he’s the only SF currently on the team who I expect to be on the team when the season starts. The Lakers need more options, period.

Late Friday night it was reported that they had offered Kent Bazemore a 4 year contract worth $72 million. Bazemore turned them down and re-signed with the Hawks instead. The Lakers, then took that same money and offered it to someone else. They got their man.

My first two thoughts about this deal are 1. I really like Deng and 2. I am still getting used to the amount of money in these contracts. I do the math conversions in my head and understand the economics how the rise in cap is impacting deals, but I’m just not used to seeing the actual numbers yet.

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We interrupt free agency to inform you the Lakers have announced their Summer League roster:


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The Lakers have formally introduced the assistant coaches who will be on Luke Walton’s staff. From the team’s press release:

The Los Angeles Lakers today announced the hiring of Associate Head Coach Brian Shaw and Assistant Coach Jesse Mermuys to Head Coach Luke Walton’s coaching staff. In addition, Mark Madsen has been retained as an Assistant Coach.

We have already covered hires in detail when they were first reported as on the horizon, but to summarize…

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We told you heading into free agency be ready for some sticker shock. We then told you in their search for a big man, the Lakers were likely going to have to spend a lot of money. And even though we said all that, when news of the Lakers’ inking Timofey Mozgov to a 4 year, $64 million deal hit, it still came as a surprise.

Welcome to the new world of NBA spending.

I don’t think many would have been upset of this contract was handed out to a sexier “name” player — Whiteside, Biyombo — who was thought to have a higher upside and room to still grow in this league. But Mozgov is a veteran big man who turns 30 this month. It’s doubtful he will improve in any tangible way, though the hope would be he continues to sharpen his strengths to become a more effective version of the player he has been.

In any event, Mozgov is the Lakers’ new starting big man. And, while it will be impossible to ignore the price tag, it’s how good of a player he is and how his skill-set can be used by the team which also matters here.

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Unlike past seasons, the Lakers have wasted no time in free agency this summer. After reportedly agreeing to a contract with Cavs big man Timofey Mozgov for 4 year, $64 million contract, the team took care of one of their own free agents late last night.

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UPDATE: The deal is reportedly done. The amount being reported is $64 million over 4 years. We do not yet know if there are options in the deal or the structure of the contract (flat, raises each year, decreasing over time), but it’s all pretty firm now. My initial analysis is below. I will have more up soon.


The Lakers have a pretty big hole at the Center position. In the lead up to free agency, it was thought they might chase Hassan Whiteside hard and were even linked to Bismack Biyombo earlier today. It seems, though, they will go in a different direction:

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