The Los Angeles Lakers will not be be true contenders for the NBA title until after the dust from 2014 free agency settles. GM Mitch Kupchak and vice president of player personnel Jim Buss are hamstrung by financial inflexibility until the books clear after next season, when they can fully reinvent themselves for the post-Kobe Bryant era.
This offseason, the buzz around the front office is mainly concerned with wooing Dwight Howard to return. He's not worth the $116 million that the Lakers can pay him but for whatever reason has Kupchak convinced that he is the future.
When compared with the true contenders of 2013—namely the San Antonio Spurs, Miami Heat, Indiana Pacers, Memphis Grizzlies and Oklahoma City Thunder, the Lakers are clearly a team with significant holes. Although many thought that the formation of superstars in Los Angeles would compete for a title in 2013, it turns out that the Lakers have some serious remodeling to do.
How can the Lakers plug the roster holes that separate them from greatness? With patience and the usual knack for scooping up the league's best talent at below market price.
Here's what they need to do.