The Lakers are fresh off a disappointing 27-55 season that saw this lofty franchise firmly entrenched in the NBA cellar. They will be involved in all the big free-agent discussions, as they are nearly every summer.
There is always plenty of speculation surrounding this omnipotent franchise to keep fans entertaining all the potential roads this team could travel. However, there is still plenty of concrete news to discuss regarding the team and its future plans.
Here is the roundup of the latest happenings in Lakerland.
Julius Randle Reportedly Won't Need Surgery, Cleared to Play
Julius Randle, the Lakers' first-round pick in the 2014 draft and key to their future hopes, will not need surgery on his foot and is a possibility for the team's summer league roster. Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times reported the news:
This is good news for Lakers fans who want to forget the demoralizing 2013-14 campaign and focus on Randle's bright future.
The former Kentucky Wildcat averaged 15.0 points and 10.4 rebounds per game during his lone season in the collegiate ranks. He brings an explosive first step and an aggressive approach to the game that should appeal to the team's resident alpha dog, Kobe Bryant.
According to ESPN's Dave McMenamin, Randle said his goals are to "win a lot of championships and reach my full potential."
Randle still needs to sign a contract, but the ability to play for the team in the summer would give fans an early look at his overall health and abilities against professional opposition. Key concerns surrounding Randle include his below-average wingspan, which may hinder his ability to get his shot off in the paint.
If he gets a chance to prove that his foot is healthy and can adjust his offensive repertoire to compete with the long-armed defenders in the NBA, this burly power forward can be the first bright spot for Lakers fans to look for this summer.
Lakers Held Meeting With Pau Gasol
According to ESPN's Dave McMenamin, the Lakers had an important sit down with Pau Gasol on Tuesday:
A day after being one of the first teams to contact Pau Gasol when the NBA's free-agency frenzy officially opened up, the Los Angeles Lakers continued to show the two-time champion their strong interest in retaining him with an in-person meeting, a league source told ESPNLosAngeles.com.
Gasol could still bring plenty of value to this team. He's often criticized for his lack of aggression on the court, but he may have been even more tentative than usual in former coach Mike D'Antoni's offensive system last season.
Los Angeles Times' Eric Pincus noted how a Gasol re-signing would fit in with the rest of the Lakers' offseason plans:
The difficult part for the Lakers is finding the right free agents willing to come. They meet today with Anthony to see if he's willing to join up with Bryant and possibly a re-signed Gasol.
How would the math work? Gasol would need to be re-signed before Anthony, perhaps at an $8-million starting salary, reducing his cap hit by about $12 million.
The lanky Spaniard does bring an age and injury risk. The nimble big man hasn't played more than 65 games in a season since the 2010-2011 campaign.
|Pau Gasol Stats, 2011-2014|
At 33 years old, there are also questions regarding just how much longer Gasol can produce. Fortunately for him, his game entails a smooth mid-range jump shot and deft footwork; he doesn't rely on maintaining brute force or flashy speed to get points.
Gasol was a big reason the Lakers won two championships, but he would have to come at a discount price to stay in Los Angeles and be part of another Lakers championship run.
Kendall Marshall on Summer League Roster
Kendall Marshall was an entertaining addition to the Lakers' roster in 2013, dazzling fans with his unparalleled court vision and selfless play. However, the Lakers have yet to pick up his contract for next season. They will include him on their summer league team, as per an official release from NBA.com.
Marshall averaged 8.0 points and 8.8 assists per contest in 54 games for the Lakers last season. He is the prototypical pass-first point guard, but he has major flaws in other areas of his game, namely his lack of speed and difficulty finishing plays at the rim.
The Lakers still have Steve Nash on the books and could re-sign free agent Jordan Farmar. They will also be taking a good long look at Jordan Clarkson, a 2014 second-round pick whom the Lakers acquired in a trade with the Washington Wizards.
The 6'5" Clarkson averaged 17.5 points and 3.4 assists per game at Missouri and projects as a combo guard due to his height. He could bring much-needed speed to the backcourt, as Nash's age and Marshall's lack of athleticism are huge detriments to the team on the defensive side of the ball.
Marshall should still be a strong addition to the team, especially if it brings in a volume scorer like Carmelo Anthony. His option is worth roughly $900,000 for 2014-15, making him an ultra-cheap option as a floor general.
All player contract and salary-cap info courtesy of Spotrac.com.
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