The disastrous season has finally come to an end after being swept 4-0 to the San Antonio Spurs in the playoffs. However, the drama is just beginning. This offseason they will have to deal with “Dwight Howard’s unrestricted free agency, Coach Mike D’Antoni’s job status, Pau Gasol’s tenuous future, Metta World Peace’s amnesty possibilities and the injury comebacks of Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash”.*
The Lakers began last fall with championship aspirations and the NBA’s largest payroll after adding Howard and Nash, alongside Kobe and Pau. Nothing worked out as anyone expected. Numerous injuries and an early coaching change plagued the Lakers’ roster and season. This year’s team never established the cohesiveness that championship teams have. It was almost like a bad nightmare that the Lakers could not wake up from.
Dwight Howard could make $118 million over five years to return to the L.A. Lakers and just $88 million over four years with anyone else. However, the one-year Lakers center has not given any indication that he will return to L.A., and is entertaining the idea of playing somewhere else.
Even without signing Dwight to a big contract this offseason, the Lakers already have payroll issues to deal with next season. They owe Kobe $30 million (and he will probably miss the first part of the season with a torn Achilles tendon), $19 million to Gasol, and more than $9 million to Nash (who was injured almost all last season). This means Metta’s $7.7 million player option for next season is an option under the amnesty clause. Pau Gasol is also a candidate for the amnesty cut.
Hopefully the Lakers can recover this offseason and improve on what they lacked last season. With one of the oldest rosters in the NBA, expect the Lakers to make big moves to try to bring younger and more athletic talent to the roster.
*Information Source: CBS Los Angeles