Team Notes explains the Lakers’ 10 major suspense: James is still 10% likely to leave, how difficult it is to sign and replace Russell Exclusive
Source: Luo said NBA 2023-06-01 07:19:56
On June 1, Beijing time, the Lakers and team reporter Jovan Buha answered 10 questions from the fans, giving a comprehensive interpretation of the Lakers’ offseason, including James’ future, free agent goals, Russell’s prospects, etc.
1. How likely is James to retire or leave the Lakers next season?
From what I’ve read over the past week, there’s a 10 percent chance James won’t be back with the Lakers next season, either because he’s retiring or playing for another team. Everyone I’ve spoken to and around the team believes James will return to the Lakers.
(The profile picture is for reference only)
In a recent social media feed, James referenced Jay-Z’s lyrics, “I should be number one on everyone’s list/Let’s see what happens when I’m not.” It’s funny because Jay-Z once announced he was retiring, but came back a few years later, making multiple albums. Is James also hinting that he needs to rest? Perhaps he could take a year off the field and wait until the 2024-25 season to return with Bronny. This is a possible option.
The current expectation, though, is that James returns and remains a member of the Lakers through the 2023-24 season.
2. What kind of big man can the Lakers pursue in free agency?
Starting with the trade targets, the obvious candidate is Myles Turner. The Lakers have been linked to him for years, and they could try to get it by combining Beasley ($16.5 million), Bamba ($10.3 million) and a 2023 first rounder (No. 17 pick), a future first rounder or second rounder. The Pacers center.
Turner meets many needs of the Lakers and is one of the few 3D centers in the league. He and thick eyebrows will improve the defense of the penalty area and maintain space on the offensive end. Turner averaged 4 three-pointers per game last season and made 37.3% of them. There are still some people in the Lakers who question the performance of the Turner + thick eyebrow combination in the playoffs, and I can understand it, but I believe Turner has the ability to play well in the playoffs.
Looking at the free agency market, here are the realistic goals the Lakers could try to sign with the full mid-level ($12.2 million) or the mini-middle class ($5 million): Naz Reed, Dwight Powell, Xavier Tee Erman, Langdale, Drummond, Biyombo.
The 23-year-old Redd will be a popular target and will likely need to spend all or most of the full mid-level salary to sign, which will trigger the Lakers’ hard cap (about 169 million US dollars).
Obviously, none of these players is particularly attractive, but each of them could come in handy in the regular season or even in the playoffs. Compared with Bamba, Gabriel and Thompson, Reid, Powell and Tillman are obvious upgrades. Langdale, Drummond and Biyombo can improve the Lakers’ physical confrontation in some games.
3. What are the realistic goals for the Lakers in free agency? Is it possible to regain Brook Lopez?
After a tough 2017-18 season, Brook Lopez’s bridges aren’t burning. But the Lakers don’t want to get him with the middle class of $12.2 million. Lopez will get a much higher offer than that. He is ideal for the Lakers, but I don’t think the Lakers can get him unless he is willing to take a pay cut to play in Los Angeles.
Here are some realistic targets for the Lakers wing (I don’t think they’ll use the midlevel to sign a point guard): Bruce Brown, Craig, DiVincenzo, Dillon, Crowder, Okogie, Burke Struth, Richardson, Damien Lee, Terrence Ross, Yuta Watanabe, Ingles, Seth Curry.
Brown could spend the entirety of the Lakers’ entire middle class, and several players on this list are likely to reach that level as well.
In addition to the big men mentioned above, some players who are not traditional five positions may also become options, such as PJ Washington (restricted), Grant Williams (restricted), Jeff Green and Georges Niang. Washington and Gerwig will need to spend all or most of the full midlevel for the Lakers to trigger the hard cap.
4. Can the Lakers use Bamba and Beasley’s non-guaranteed contracts before the new season?
If the Lakers implement Beasley’s $16.5 million team option and guarantee Bamba’s $10.3 million contract, they can use their contract with the 17th pick to trade in the draft. The potential problem for the trading team is that Beasley’s salary for next season will be locked in, and Bamba will become a fully guaranteed contract.
If the Lakers want to reach such a deal, considering the needs of the Lakers and their contract above the market value, it is likely that only one of Beasley and Bamba can be sent away. However, the Lakers’ draft performance has always been good, and I doubt they are very willing to send away this year’s No. 17 pick.
5. What kind of contract will Lei Hachimura get?
Hachimura’s priority in the Lakers team is second only to Reeves. Both players are restricted players, which means that the Lakers can match any offer from other teams. The Lakers plan to do the same.
Hachimura’s annual salary is estimated to be within 80 million in four years, and any offer that reaches or is lower than 20 million in annual salary should allow Hachimura to return to the Lakers. The Lakers are expected to re-sign Hachimura, either by offering his own contract or matching offers from other teams.
6. If Lei Hachimura and Reeves are left behind, what will happen to the Lakers’ salary situation?
The Lakers could use the biennial exception or the full midlevel exception, but that would keep their salary cap fixed at $169 million. James, Big Eyebrows, Christie, Vanderbilt, and the No. 17 pick add up to $97.5 million, plus Reeves and Hachimura, the minimum is $126 million. That’s $138 million. To use the full middle class, they may have to give up Russell and Lonnie Walker.
If they give up Russell, Walker, Vanderbilt, Bamba, Beasley, and trade Christie and the No. 17 pick, and use the minimum salary to fill the 8 vacancies ($7.5 million), they can also create a 15-million- The salary space of 20 million did not allow them to gain much, and they will lose Vanderbilt and other depths, so it is unlikely that the Lakers will do this for this salary space.
7. Would the Lakers prefer to sign and then trade Russell, or let him continue to play here next season?
I think the Lakers would prefer to sign Russell, but not sure if such an opportunity exists. Trading Russell for Irving is becoming a pipe dream because the Mavericks are unwilling to help the Lakers. Klutch Sports client Van Vleet may become a potential target, but the Lakers also need the Raptors to cooperate in signing Russell (or accepting the contracts of Bamba and Beasley).
Looking at this league, how many teams are willing to start with Russell? Even your most optimistic estimate, there will be no more than 10. How many people are willing to give Russell an annual salary of more than 20 million US dollars?
If I sort the realistic possibilities of Russell’s future, I think it should be: 1. The Lakers renew Russell, 2. The Lakers give up directly and let him leave as a free agent, 3. The Lakers sign first and then trade Russell you.
The Western Conference Finals was a big blow to Russell’s reputation, he’s still a useful player and can play sixth man at worst, but paying him around $20 million a year is certainly unreasonable because he’s in There are obvious limitations in the Lakers playoffs.
8. The way the Warriors and Nuggets deal with Vanderbilt is worrying. Will the Lakers worry about his incompetence on the offensive end?
Vanderbilt’s offensive limitations are a concern for the Lakers, but that’s not surprising. The Lakers finally used a contingency plan, such as letting him gradually withdraw from the rotation, and let Hachimura play more. Vanderbilt’s salary next season is only 4.7 million. He does not have a very exaggerated contract, so that the Lakers do not need to question him. position in the rotation.
Retaining Hachimura is important and can complement Vanderbilt. Vanderbilt is very versatile on the defensive end and has good rebounds. Hachimura’s offensive end, jump shot and low-post ability can fill Vanderbilt’s game holes very well. Vanderbilt needs to improve in cutting and catch-and-shoot next season, and he still has a lot of value.
9. Did the Lakers save Hamm’s job by reaching the Western Conference Finals?
I don’t think Hamm’s job has ever been in jeopardy this season, even with a 2-10 start and a one-time 13th seed in the West. Most new coaches get at least two years. The Lakers fired Vogel after the 2021-22 season, but still need to pay his salary. They’re not the kind of team that can pay three coaches at the same time.
In other words, I think Hamm has some guarantees in the playoffs. I think he might have at least two more seasons left to coach. Regardless of the outcome, Hamm still helped the team play an impressive season.
10. Will the Lakers become a luxury-tax team?
I think the final total salary of the Lakers is about 179.5 million US dollars, which is 17.5 million US dollars above the luxury tax line, but they may face some penalties, such as losing the middle class, not being able to accept more salary in the transaction, prohibiting the use of cash in the transaction, and not being able to Sign buyout players and more.
Of course the Lakers would like to try to avoid the luxury tax completely, but it’s too difficult to do. Considering they want to keep Reeves, Lei Hachimura, and face decisions about Bamba, Beasley, and Vanderbilt, their salary bill can only become very large. They have a lot to weigh in the coming weeks.