Through a combination of sticking with what they have and buying low (or attempting to), the Los Angeles Lakers look better off when comparing the current roster on paper against last year's iteration.
D'Angelo Russell was a good get in the draft. Lou Williams provides solid scoring off the bench. And although he bucks the trend of smaller, guard-happy lineups, Roy Hibbert presents a nice value and upgrade.
It's never wise to say a team won't make further moves smack in the middle of summer, as things change in the Association on a dime. Los Angeles might not, though, which gives everyone time to catch up on rumblings detailing recent attempts and future perceived moves.
Let's take a look.
The Failed Pursuit of Ty Lawson
With Russell and Jordan Clarkson at the point, few expected Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak and the front office to go after point guards on the open market.
Look around the league: Who exactly needs a starting point guard and cares enough about winning over the next two seasons to deal with Lawson? The Lakers were the only other team to express interest, but they can’t offer a first-round pick until 2020 at the earliest — and may not have even put a future first-rounder on the table, per league sources.
To be blunt, it doesn't make sense.
Not only do the Lakers have two youngsters at the position who need minutes and could develop into solid starters (or much more in the rookie's case), the roster already has too many chefs in the kitchen.
Lawson is a sound veteran, but he needs the ball in his hands to thrive. He averaged 15.2 points last year but needed 12.3 attempts per game to hit it. This should sound familiar—Nick Young averaged 13.4 on 11.3 shots last year. Williams, 15.5 on 11.6. Does anyone really need proof for a guy named Kobe Bryant?
There are other layers, too. Lawson was a decent cap hit. Los Angeles wants cash to chase free agents next year. So far, the team has, in large part, built with the future in mind. Lawson would have pushed in the other direction so the team could use Lawson, Bryant and Hibbert to maybe scratch an eighth seed in the deep Western Conference.
Any way it's sliced, it seems to be a good thing Lawson wound up with the Houston Rockets. At the least, the note from Lowe provides a little context as to what the front office might offer for what sort of value.
Nick Young Latest
Of course, there is a major hole in some of the logic above—the team could have gone out and traded one of its volume-based shooters to make room for Lawson.
Bryant isn't going anywhere, and neither is the new add in Williams, so it leaves the eccentric Young on the table. Granted, lineup questions would persist and Lawson has no positional versatility, but still.
Regardless of whether the failure to bring on Lawson plays a part, it sounds like the Lakers are willing to commit to another year of Young. According to Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News, the two parties had a meeting: "But the conversation at least left Young feeling comfortable enough that he will enter the 2015-16 season on the Lakers’ roster, according to a source familiar with his thinking."
It's a small step for both sides but an important one. The Lakers needed to patch up the relationship after it became clear nobody was going to come calling for a trade. Young is 30 years old with the aforementioned numbers on his resume and a $5.2 million cap hit this season, per Spotrac.
How things work out between Young and the many shooters on the roster sounds like an act of improvisation at this point, though, as a quote from his teammate suggests, per Mike Trudell ESPNLA 710:
Either way, it will prove interesting to see which way coach Byron Scott goes with the lineups and strategies barring any future changes to the roster—which fans shouldn't expect at this point. Things change, sure, but right now, the Lakers have options, which is a whole lot more than the coaching staff could say over the past few seasons. Maybe not ideal options who mesh well together, but there are options nonetheless.
All stats and info via ESPN.com unless otherwise specified.