Photo Credit | Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

With free agency well underway now, the two biggest names on the market have chosen their landing spots. Lebron James has decided to return to his hometown of Cleveland, and Carmelo Anthony decided to return to New York and work under Phil Jackson.  James was essentially the first domino to fall as once he made his decision most other free agents began to make theirs.  The Lakers did their best to try and land Anthony but it was futile in the end.  Anthony not signing with the Lakers, unfortunately, meant the departure of long-time PF Pau Gasol, as he declined two separate offers from LA and decided instead to sign with the Chicago Bulls.

The Lakers currently have Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Jeremy Lin, Julius Randle, Jordan Clarkson, Nick “Swaggy P” Young, Kendall Marshall, Jordan Hill, and Robert Sacre filling out the roster for the upcoming season.  The roster is far from what the Lakers would like to have for next season, but it’s going to have to do.  There are a few more roster spots to fill out and it is yet to be seen who will fill those spots but it won’t be a big name as the Lakers don’t have much money to work with now.

The starting five currently lacks a decent small forward, and the Lakers will likely sign someone in free agency who can fill that need.  Here’s what it looks like right now.

PG Jeremy Lin

SG Kobe Bryant

SF ???

PF Julius Randle

C Jordan Hill

It’s not terrible, but it’s not that great either.  The Lakers are sure to go through another dull year without the talent to get them through a formidable Western Conference.

No one knows who Bryant will be when he returns this season, 36 years old when the season starts and he’s coming off two severe injuries stemming Lin-Lakers from two seasons ago.  Jeremy Lin, who was nothing short of a superstar when he truly debuted in New York, has since come back down to earth and is a rather average point guard in the league. We’re yet to see Randle in an NBA game so it’s realistic to expect Randle to put up decent numbers this season as he starts his career with the purple and gold.  Jordan Hill brings his game every night and is a wonderful offensive rebounder who always fights for boards on both sides of the floor.  It should be nice to see him in a starting roll where he can play the majority of the position’s minutes.

And of course there’s always Swaggy P, whose crazy antics and celebrations brought a strong energy to the court every night, that will surely be a welcome sign once again.

The sleeper pick for this season is Jordan Clarkson.  Yes, Jordan Clarkson, I told a friend of mine about him and he replied “Who is that?”.  Exactly.  He isn’t necessarily someone you would have heard of unless you’re an avid follower of Laker basketball, but believe me, this kid has talent and he was an absolute steal at #46 in the second round of this years draft.  Look for him to make his mark this season.

Photo Credit | John Locher / Associated Press
Photo Credit | John Locher / Associated Press

So where do the Lakers stand right now?  Well they definitely don’t look like what many fans felt they would look like a few months ago that’s for sure.  Missing out on the big free agent names is something that the Lakers aren’t used to, normally players are chomping at the bit to play for the Lakers.

This hasn’t been the case since the Lakers missed out on Chris Paul.  By this I mean that ever since that trade was nixed, the Lakers have really been in a downward spiral.  After that, Lamar Odom was traded away to Dallas for basically nothing, and Gasol was to be in trade talks for the next three years.  Phil Jackson had retired from coaching, and the Lakers went on to hire Mike Brown.  Following that, the Lakers looked to get back on track with the sign and trade of Steve Nash and the acquisition of Dwight Howard through a three-team trade.  This turned out to be a miserable failure which led to Brown being fired.  Then the Lakers had to chance to get Jackson back, but NOPE, they threw a total curveball and went with Mike D’Antoni instead.  Yeah, that worked out well.  Howard despised playing in LA under D’Antoni, who couldn’t effectively utilize a big man to save his life, and he didn’t get along so well with Bryant either.  Nash broke his leg in the first week of the season which led him to suddenly become “old” and he never performed like he did in his Phoenix days.  Bryant tore his Achilles tendon in the final game of the 2012-13 season against Golden State, and then the Lakers were swept in the first round by San Antonio. Howard then left for Houston, and the Lakers had a lot of questions facing them for the upcoming 2013-14 season.  Well, Bryant came back mid-season and subsequently broke a bone in his knee and was then out the rest of the season which led the Lakers to finishing with 27 wins and a lottery pick.  Even after getting in the lottery they still managed to only get the seventh pick out of it.

So, now they’re here, a shell of the championship teams that won in 2009, and 2010; Bryant being the only remaining player from those teams.  Gasol is gone and the Lakers seem to be facing more and more questions each season with hopes of future free agents wanting to come to LA in the coming years.  The Lakers have lost that luster they’ve had for so many years, they just don’t have it, and who knows when it will return.

The current roster doesn’t scream success, heck, it barely even whispers mediocrity.  I don’t see this team making the playoffs this season in such a tough Western Conference, unless someone plays out of their mind and carries the team. Unlikely though.  To top it all off the Lakers don’t even have a first-round pick unless it’s top five; that pick was sent over to Phoenix in the Nash deal.

Uncertainty faces this team to say the least, the Lakers are in an extreme rebuilding process and it could take a while before Staples Center raises another purple and gold banner.

 

Where will the Lakers finish this season?

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  • Robert Perez

    Is this a joke?

  • sadlakerfan

    Terrible management. Spoiled with Vito Corleone running the Lakers, now we’re stuck with a bunch of Fredo’s

    • Tyler Katt

      get used to it, they gave Kupchak an extension so we are screwed for at least 2 more years

      • wangkon936

        Mitch is fine. It’s Jim Buss hovering over him that’s the issue.

      • LakerSteve

        Wait… you think Kupchak – the man who traded Kwame Brown and misc parts for Pau Gasol, the man who traded Gasol/Odom for CP3, the man who traded Bynum for Dwight Howard etc etc – is responsible? Kupchak is arguably the most creative GM in the NBA. The real problem for the Lakers is TWC & Kobe’s ridiculous contract. The Lakers signed a $3 billion deal with TWC and they feel obligated to put star power on the floor – especially after last years disaster. As for where Kobe fits in, he’s the only star power they currently have and he’s way too popular with the fan base to let go or even piss off. If Kobe had really wanted to win ring #6 (like he’s said many times) he would have taken… no, demanded less money. Of course, this was also on the organization – Jim & Jeanie should have risked his wrath and had a serious sit down explaining that, while they didn’t want to lose him, it would have been in Kobe’s best interest to sign a smaller deal because he’d have a chance to win another championship and he’d come out of this looking like a big-time hero. Not to mention, the marketing aspect for #24. Could you imagine the boost to Kobe’s already huge endorsements that a couple more long playoff runs would have been? We’d be watching Kobe and LeBron puppets on ESPN again. In the nutshell, I don’t believe for a second that Kupchak was thinking it would be a great move to give a 36 yr old player with Kobe’s mileage a two year extension for $48 million dollars. This was about appeasing/rewarding Kobe and putting butts in the seats – NOT about winning. Kupchak is doing the best he can under the circumstances but his hands have been tied.

        • DDub

          Would you demand to be paid less on your job?

  • Time4Restart

    Time for new ownership, a new GM, a new coach, and new players. Complete restart all the way around. Could be over a decade before anything again.

  • duskr

    pretty sure it would of been different if jim buss let kupchak do his job..

    • wangkon936

      How do I up vote this comment 100 times?

  • Nore

    Unless something major happens, which is very unlikely given the lack of assets the Lakers have, this team could very well be worse than last years. That lineup is horrible. Not to mention the severe lack of depth behind it.

    • wangkon936

      No way it’s worse then last year’s if Kobe plays the majority of the year.

    • Thomas Klein

      We have good depth at power forward, small forward, and point guard.

  • Ryan LeBraun

    No 1st round pick in 2015 unless it’s top 5? What should that mean? Hm…how about tank? Getting that top 5 pick can actually be guaranteed (top 3 are determined by lottery), by simply rolling out a lineup of Lin/SwaggyP/SF Free Agent/Randle/Hill. Why no Kobe in the lineup? Because a) he gets “hurt” early and misses the rest of the season, or b) he gets traded for some assets. Kobe is unlikely to be traded. But as much we can’t stand to face the truth, tanking would help to speed up the rebuilding process for the Lakers.

    • Henry Black

      That draft pick is still owed. Tanking would only shift the pick over to the next year where its top 3 protected for the next 2 years and then becomes unprotected.

    • Thomas Klein

      We also now hold a 1st round pick from the Lin Trade. Deliberately tanking is no way to rum a franchise, the ends don’t justify the means. You may achive you’re goal of a lottery pick, but you are then adding the player to a team that ha no winning tradition. How has that plan worked out for the teams that have tried it? The Bucks, The Cav’s , The Wizards, The Kings, NOT a NBA TITLE among them.
      Concentrate on winning, not loosing.

    • Al Haldie

      LETS not start that TANKING crap already – the season has not even started yet..

  • quickster007

    Tim Duncan & Dirk Nowitzski took a pay cut for their respected team. How come Kobe didn’t take a pay cut. I know management was the one who gave it to him. He could have said. I like the Lakers to have a chance to win another championship that’s why I’m only asking 12 millions a season. If Kobe upset that he didn’t win a ring in his last two years. He has only himself to blame. Pau saw that his not winning any ring with the Lakers. He took a pay cut and play with the Bulls. It’s nice to see Pau finally had enough of the criticism that he took when he was a Laker. Hopefully, his in a better team.

    • http://southcidalmusic.com Southcidal

      Duncan and Nowistzski don’t do what Kobe does. Dirk hasn’t seen a 27 pts per average in about 5 years, ditto for Tim. And Kobe is probably still the number one box office draw in the league believe it or not. Tim and Dirk are great and they more than likely don’t have to average the high numbers because their teams have taken measures to take pressure off of them, but last I heard, that pressure to put up big numbers is still squarely on Kobe’s shoulders. Duncan averaged what? 12 pts in the Finals? Until he proves differently, Kobe needs to be paid like a top 5 player in this league.

      • Henry Black

        Duncan averaged 15.5 and 10 boards a game on 57% shooting in the Finals. 16.3 and 9.2 for all the playoffs. Dirk averaged 21.7 and had the highest true shooting pct. of ALL Power Forwards in the league that averaged more then 10 points. Kobe can take what he wants but stop trying to marginalize the stars that prioritized winning over money.

    • DDub

      Would you take a pay cut at your job? All these media people aren’t taking pay cuts? Name one ESPN person that is taking less so that ESPN can hire a stud personality. Kobe took what Jeannie Buss offered. He is taking too much blame, the Lakers received a 2billion dollar deal from time Warner, he should receive his share, I don’t like the position that the Lakers are in. But they have enough money to go over the cap, and sing at least one premiere player.

  • B P

    LA fans have faith… JLIN will deliver. Mark my words…. he’s been so marginalized by the Rockets, he will once again prove his worth. The Lakers will get a solid PG with 16pts and 8asts all season. He must be the first PG tho… or at least more mins. than Nash. Playoff bound but not beyond the first round, which is still pretty good in my opinion.

  • YoungKrakr

    We do have a first round pick. Houston. JL trade. Also a second round too I think.

  • Chris

    Yes a first and second round pick which came with Jeremy Lin.

  • http://southcidalmusic.com Southcidal

    Lakers Will Surprise People This Year.
    If I’m a betting man, I’m putting my money on Kobe coming back fully healthy this year. Maybe his fully healthy won’t be the #8 fully healthy, but Kobe is The Little Fundamental amongst perimeter players. Kobe’s precision footwork and ability to hit tough shots minimizes his need for athleticism. Kobe will return with a vengeance, 24, 6 and 6, 45% FG.
    If you asked me what a Kobe/Nash backcourt needed most after they missed on other superstars, I would have said youthful athleticism and a couple guys that can get their own shots. Not many front courts will be more youthful and athletic than Randle and Hill. Both are board terrors who bring tons of energy. This enables Kobe and Nash to not have to get every loose ball and reserve energy. The new combo’s style will be a far cry from the Gasol/Kaman combo which was probably the slowest in the league. Add Jordan Clarkson to this youthful athleticism infusion as well.
    When it comes to guys who can get their own shots, Nick Young and Jeremy Lin both can score the ball if they can’t do too much else. These guys will have Staples rocking once they get it going.
    But this youth and athleticism movement shouldn’t end here. With the last bit of cap space adding Wesley Johnson, Ed Davis and a shooter completes the squad.
    Starters:
    Kobe, Lin, W. Johnson, Randle and J. Hill.
    Bench:
    Nash, Swag, E. Davis, Clarkson, Sacre, Kane, Kelly and Fredette (a min salary shooter).
    So many more hustle players. So much more athleticism. If Kobe and Nash can have good seasons this team will surprise.
    (Note: If Shawn Marion can be acquired I’d take him over W. Johnson. Provides athleticism like Johnson, but a far more experienced and better overall player.)

  • numb1lakefan

    Hill
    boozer
    Sacre
    Kelly
    Randle
    Kobe
    nash
    lin
    clarkson
    young
    monroe
    bledsoe*
    marion
    crawford
    Thompskins

    • Thomas Klein

      ???, how do you propose to sign Marion, Monroe, Crawford, and Boozer with no cap space, do yo think these players REALLY are going to play for the Lakers for minimum non guaranteed contracts when they will undoubtedly get better offers elsewhere ?
      For the math challenged, the Lakers have Kobe 23 mill, Nash 9.7 mill, Hill 9 mill, Lin 8.6 mill, Nick Young 5.8 million, Randle 3.1 mill, Sacre, Davis, Marshall, Clarkson and Kelly each with a million. That adds up to about 64 million dollars, Cap is 62.3 million, were over the cap. That means minimum contracts only.

      • Al Haldie

        We have BOOZER now and working on marion, and now we have 13 players and that’s it says MITCH..

  • Max Rosales

    i like many of you feel like if something doesn’t happen before sept/ we are in deep deep trouble,if kobe is forced to score most of the points again,look for our record to be worse not better.with others trying to find there shots or fit in or whatever the reason or excuses might end up being,this is a very very underdeveloped squad no coach and i mean no coach will deliver these guys anywhere near the playoffs.that’s to much to ask from any coach.yes they will all have good percentages but will eventually end up loosing most of there games like last year.if by chance if they could land a few more scorers and not relics or bench warmers we’ll at least be competived.

    • prjavelin

      3 guys could: carlisle, Phil and popovich all tied with other teams

    • Thomas Klein

      Look, Boozer is good foe 12 points, ditto for Lin and Swaggy P, add in Randle, Kelly, Henry and Clarkson, plus Davis, Johnson and Nash and we will have plenty of offensive weapons.

  • wardrobe99

    we need to ad shawn marion and Dante Cunningham or beasly,Ed Davis,Al Farouq Aminu,Barbosa,and Andre blatch would help out also he could spread the floor.

    • jt3z

      Ed Davis is coming so thats a +

    • Thomas Klein

      You do know were only allowed 15 players and the current CBA has something called a salary cap RIGHT!

      • wardrobe99

        i made this comment days ago i didnt say get all of them just a few and as you see we got one of them in ed davis

  • Thomas Klein

    Maybe it’s Mitch’s plan to suck SO bad that we get a top 5 draft pick next year to pair with Randle since the draft pick we traded away for Nash is top 5 protected. We would also hold Houston’s 1st round pick, and two second round picks. That plus Clarkson, Ryan Kelly etc could help complete a total rebuild, people will just have to be patient and let them develop.

  • Laker Illuminati

    Hey I like Ed Davis. He a banger. The only thing with him is he get lazy some time and disappears . That can be fixed by watching his minutes. Good move Mitch ( B-)

  • Eddie Johns

    @disqus_BbDecVv5te:disqus Chill out man, stop being so irrational

  • Ala-bala

    Where the Lakers stands at the moment?
    With the roster they have, at the bottom of the Western Conference, but not enough to become again a lottery team and get another franchise player.
    At least, we have Houston’s first round and 2 second round pics next summer.

  • Thomas Klein

    If there THAT bad, they will in fact have a top 5 pick, if there not that bad, they will have Houston’s pick, either way they will have a 1st round pick that’s decent. They also have a second round pick.

    • wardrobe99

      i agree you take a chance on drafts not all the time they turnout great but a first round could allways be a decent role player nowdays your secound round pick could be your best pick in the draft i think we will be decent next year anything can happen this team can gel well and surprise everyone

  • Max Prime is an diot

    Fu…ng idiot. Who are you to write this kind of posts here?Who cares if you are 100% disagree or not? I don’t give a sh.t for you opinion. Stop acting like a judge here. Understood?

  • Thomas Klein

    Your right, I’ve only been following the Lakers since they moved from Minny, when the hell did you start?

  • wardrobe99

    you can disagree but we did pick up davis thats one of them players im only putting out sugestion that are possible pick ups whith what we have to work with you should stay off site you have no open mind you think your opinion is the only opinion your wrong dont like it stay off site yourself always telling people stay off site

  • wardrobe99

    go play with your transformer toys son you have no clue about basketball.

  • Al Haldie

    But who cares ?

  • Al Haldie

    Who does he remind you of -that some thing rain…no sence talking to him..

  • Al Haldie

    Don’t reply to him he may GO AWAY …

  • wardrobe99

    he just a young buster talking that mess in person he would get smashed