lakers Still hoping to climb out of 13th place and reach the playoffs, but a recent roster overhaul was made with an eye on the future, writes The Athletic’s Jovan Buha. In a conference call with members of the media on Saturday, General Manager Rob Pelinka Said front office focused on adding shooting, floor spacing, size and wing depth.
LA made four deals by January 23 rui hachimura, d’angelo russell, Malik Beasley, Jared Vanderbilt, Mohammed Bamba And devon reed, All six players are 27 or younger, and they are under some form of team control beyond this season.
The Lakers could make Hachimura a restricted free agent with an eligible offer worth $7.7MM. Russell will be unrestricted, but he is eligible for an extension through June 30. LA has a $16.5MM team option on Beasley for next season, while Vanderbilt has a partial guarantee on his contract and Bamba and Reid have non-guaranteed deals.
“I think taking a deeper dive into it, you could almost see it as ‘pre-agency’” Pelinka said. “…we deliberately planned these steps in July to provide optionality. Some of these players have team options or team-controlled years on their contracts, which again gives us the ability to see how these last 26 regular-season games and potential postseason games go. And then we can go into this offseason with a higher collection of data points, and kind of real-time analysis of how the pieces fit together and make decisions for the future.
Buha has more on the Lakers:
- Pelinka admitted on a conference call that trading Russell Westbrook Was probably the best move for both parties. He said the Lakers originally acquired Westbrook in hopes of returning to title contention, adding that the polarizing guard shouldn’t be blamed for the team’s dismal performance. “I think it’s really unfair to put the last year and a half, or whatever time, on one player,” Pelinka said. “I think the whole roster has to come together and fit. And sometimes part of the game is if things aren’t working, you have to fix them.”
- Pelinka did not specifically address the Lakers’ rumored pursuit Kyrie Irving, but he indicated that the front office was aggressive with 2027 and 2029 first-round selections in an effort to upgrade the roster. LA parted ways with their 2027 first-rounder (top-four protected) in the deal that sent Westbrook to Utah.
- The Lakers still have a roster opening, but Pelinka hasn’t decided how aggressively he’ll pursue buyout candidates. “If we see the right opportunity to fill a need in the shopping market, we will look at it,” They said. “But I certainly don’t want to say that we will sign one more player. We feel these 14 players fill a need (head coach darwin ham) was looking to fill, and he was excited about these 26 sports, we got to coach these 14 guys.