NBA / Jul 1, 2009 / 10:00 am

Lakers: Three Offseason Priorities

Lamar Odom (photo. Tim Tadder)

Lamar Odom (photo. Tim Tadder)

Although the ’09 NBA free agent class isn’t as stacked as in years past — not to mention the League is being more thrifty than ever due to the slumping economy — teams still have holes they want to plug, and players have moves they want to make. As the negotiation period gets underway (players can’t officially sign until July 8), we’re breaking down each team’s free agent situation…

LOS ANGELES LAKERS

ROSTER
G – Kobe Bryant, Derek Fisher, Sasha Vujacic, Shannon Brown, Jordan Farmar, Sun Yue
F – Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom, Trevor Ariza, Luke Walton, Josh Powell, Adam Morrison, Chinemelu Elonu
C – Andrew Bynum, DJ Mbenga

FREE AGENTS
Odom, Ariza, Brown (R)

ANALYSIS
Everyone knows what the champs want to do this summer: re-sign Odom and Ariza, and Brown to a less-urgent extent. All three players said during the post-championship party circuit that they want to come back, but ultimately, money is gonna talk — and the Lakers don’t have a lot of it to spread around.

L.A. has the second-highest payroll in the League, and while there was some thought that Kobe might opt-out of his contract and take a pay cut to help keep the title roster intact, Kobe decided to opt-in for his $23 million salary next season.

As a restricted FA, Brown won’t be too tough to re-sign. Odom can command more money on the market than Ariza, plus Ariza is from L.A., so he’s more inclined to grant a hometown discount. If the Lakers keep Ariza and lose Odom, they still have a solid front line led by Gasol and Bynum, but may want to grab a clearance-rack free agent big man to provide depth given Bynum’s struggles. Maybe a vet who’s desperately looking for a ring is the answer.

L.A. could use the mid-level exception and try to lure Ron Artest or Jason Kidd their way, but from his offseason interviews, it sounds like GM Mitch Kupchak isn’t trying to shake up the roster too much.

IDEAL TARGETS
PF – Pops Mensah-Bonsu (R), Ike Diogu, Malik Rose, Sean Marks, Melvin Ely, Josh McRoberts (R), Juwan Howard
C – Theo Ratliff, Adonal Foyle, Shelden Williams, Jamaal Magloire, Chris Mihm

NBA FREE AGENCY ANALYSIS
Memphis Grizzlies
Cleveland Cavaliers
Los Angeles Clippers

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  • QQ

    Hope you Laker fans are soaking up this ‘ship, cause next year, Superman and Vinsanity are gonna be hoisting the Trophy!

    GOOOO MAGICCC!!

    PS: Burn the Impostor who used my name again!

  • goonther

    chris mihm returns….

    bwwwwwwahahhahahahhahhahahahahah riiiiiiiiiiiiiiight

  • MoxWestCoastRep

    I wouldnt mind seeing Shelden Williams get a look w LA. Phil has a nack for taking guys who have been written off and reviving their career. He was good at duke and could at least come in and block some shots and play D.

  • Sanpitch

    ideal targets
    c – jamaal magloire?????????????

    wtf?

    this guy should be the ideal target of a wal-mart door greeter and that’s it!

  • Diego

    Yeah, Shelden would be worth a shot–but he is more a pf. Shelden had his moments with the Hawks, and I too still can’t believe he is a total waste. Give him a shot at redemption.

  • Kobeef

    @Diego

    Sheldon may have had a (single) moment in Atlanta but he certainly didn’t have more han one. THat said, I don’t get why he sucks so bad. There haven’t been many college stars who have been as much of an NBA flop as him.

  • jzsmoove

    Given the free agents out there in G, PF and C positions, it seems like the current crop of players in the league are worthless pices of flotsam. And seems like it that the Lakers the trophy this year because they have had time to gel as a cohesive unit rather than being a more superior team than the rest.

    Nothing to take away from the Lakers and no disrespect intended, the Champs are the Champs they are very good. Take away the other marquee players from their team (and there are only a handful of elites and some pretenders eg. Boozer). The league’s product is really garbage compared to other years past. The quality of basketball players has dropped off dramatically. Players with marginal talent will get paid big $ because there just isnt mmuch choice.

  • Sweet English

    jzsmoove

    How did you come to that conclusion?

    Just because there arent many must-have free agents around at the moment has no reflection on the talent available to teams looking to improve in the league. The last three trades to take place involved Vince Carter, Richard Jefferson and Shaq.

    Read up son.

  • D: Rockah

    if the lakers lose odom maybe they can get charlie villenueva.

  • Diego

    @ Kobeef: You should know that Woodson generally doesn’t give young guys a chance (Diaw, S. Stoudamire, Shelden, A. Law). (Teague’s first 2 years with the team are destined to be a confidence-losing, developmental waste under Woodson.)

    At the end of I believe his first season, Shelden actually performed quite well, plus he dominated his Rocky Mountain review summer league stint between 1st and 2nd year (I know that is just summer league). At this stage, Shelden’s confidence must be totally shot.

  • Johnny Hoops

    Chris Mihm or Juwan Howard? What are you smoking? Do a little research before writing next time. You obviously have no clue what you’re talking about.

  • http://www.LakersNation.com Lakers Nation

    Our Backup plan is to go after Ron Artest with the MLE if Trevor and Lamar get priced out.

    Worst Case Scenario – we just lose Lamar. Bynum is now forced to step up and earn his contract. If you really think about it, Lamar is truly a luxury to every definition of that word.

    Orlando – great moves, but you lost all the passion and heart you have with Hedo. Vinsanity has nothing. Left everything he ever had in Sydney.

    We broke down different scenarios at http://LakersNation.com – come check it out!

  • the cynic

    Lakers have been to back-to-back finals, all they need to do is re-sign there own players

  • http://www.CalmYoSelf.com Kermit The Washington

    Why aren’t we going after Ron Artest RIGHT NOW? Sign him now. Do it. I’d be ok with losing Odom if it meant Artest took his place. DO IT RIGHT NOW.

  • jzsmoove

    Sweet English, like I said good FREE AGENTS are scarce and you talkin bout trades. trio you talking bout are not free agents yet. Big diff Bro.