Since this team clearly sucks and I'm tired of reading about Lin all the time, I figured it would make sense to discuss strategies for how to rebuild this team into a playoff contender.
Here is some relevant information to consider:
Next year, we have around 36 million committed in salaries, and a little over 10 million worth of team options (Jordan hill being 9 million of it). Young, Randle, Kelly, and Kobe are the only players with guaranteed contracts next year. In the year after that, assuming Kobe retires, we'll have 5 million for Young and a 3 million dollar team option for Randle.
- 2015: Our first rounder goes to PHX if it's outside of the top 5. We get a first round pick from Houston from the Lin trade that's top 14 protected. We get a second round pick (which I believe is top 50 protected and 56-60 protected) from the Rockets that originates back to a Clippers-Raptors trade. We would owe the Magic our second rounder from the Howard trade if it falls outside the top 40, but thats unlikely to happen this season (I believe this pick does not carry over to future seasons but someone will have to verify).
- 2016: We have our first and second round picks (we can't trade them).
- 2017: We owe the Magic our first round pick (it is top 5 protected).
- 2018 and thereafter: We have all our picks (can begin trading picks for years 2019 onward I believe).
Significant Free Agents:
- 2015: LeBron James (player option), Kevin Love (player option), LaMarcus Aldridge, Kawhi Leonard (restricted), Marc Gasol, Tim Duncan, Goran Dragic (player option), Rajon Rondo, Dwyane Wade (player option), DeAndre Jordan, Brook Lopez (player option), Greg Monroe, Al Jefferson (player option), Reggie Jackson (restricted), Jimmy Butler (restricted), Monta Ellis (player option), Paul Milsap, Roy Hibbert (player option), Luol Deng (player option), Brandon Knight
- 2016: Kevin Durant, Joakim Noah, Al Horford, Nicolas Batum, Mike Conley, JaVale McGee, Chris Paul (player option), Dwight Howard (player option), DeMar DeRozan (player option), Chandler Parsons (player option), Dirk Nowitzki (player option), Pau Gasol (player option).
My thoughts are that the Lakers, if they are unable to acquire Love in 2015 or Durant in 2016 (Paul's unlikely to opt out), should let Kobe retire in 2016 and start from there. This season's a lost cause, and even if we do get to keep our first rounder, we would lose it in 2016 most likely. Best scenario is to keep the cheap young talent we acquire in the next 2 years (through the draft and Randle), and try to build via the draft. By stockpiling assets, we can end up in an OKC situation by 2020 if we draft extremely well, or pull a Houston and use the youth to trade for a better player. It would be worthwhile to keep players like Ed Davis and Tarik Black, but nobody else on the roster is really worth it imo. At this point it would be stupid to give out more deals like we did to Nick Young and instead try not to tie down future salary so early, especially with the cap rumored to increase. If Buss isn't dumb, LA could be contending by 2019-2020 and be in a better position to lure free agents.