Los Angeles Lakers Have Big Decisions to Make This Summer

D.Michael LeeSenior Analyst IMay 27, 2009

DENVER - MAY 23:  Trevor Ariza #3 of the Los Angeles Lakers is fouled by Carmelo Anthony #15 of the Denver Nuggets after Ariza stole the ball late in the fourth quarter in Game Three of the Western Conference Finals during the 2009 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center on May 23, 2009 in Denver, Colorado. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

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The Lakers are in the midst of a battle with the Denver Nuggets for the right to go to the NBA Finals right now, however in the back of their minds, they might be thinking that this could be the last time they all play together as assembled.

The Los Angeles Daily News reports that the Lakers have five potential free agents on their roster this off season, with the biggest ones being the rising stock of Trevor Ariza, and wingman Lamar Odom. Shannon Brown, Josh Powell, and DJ Mbenga are all solid role players, however they could be replaced if needed.

Ariza will certainly draw more interest from teams looking to secure a defensive minded player with a streaky jumper, and teams like the Magic, who may need to replace Hedo Turkoglu, the Raptors, Grizzlies, and Spurs will certainly pay attention to how the negotiations go with Ariza and the Lakers.

If the Lakers somehow fall short of the NBA Finals this year, could Lamar Odom be the Fall Guy and be the odd man out? One would assume changes would come somewhere in the core of the team, and as hard as Los Angeles pushed to sign Ron Artest last season, he may become high on their list again this summer.

In other news, The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that the Philadelphia 76ers now have narrowed their coaching search to four people. Eddie Jordan still remains high on the list, along with Celtics assistant coach Tom Thibodeau, Chris Ford, and Dwayne Casey. A decision is expected within the next week.

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