It wasn’t the season most were expecting from the defending NBA champions. Following their title victory in the bubble last fall, the Los Angeles Lakers slumped their way through the 2021 season. The result saw them finish in seventh place out West, eventually bowing out to the Phoenix Suns in the playoffs. A first-round exit is never a satisfying end, especially as the defending champs. In his exit interview, Lakers GM Rob Pelinka made it known his intent to retool LA back into a championship roster.
“Jeanie and the ownership group has empowered the front office to do one thing, and that’s to smartly build a roster to win championships. That’s been the hallmark of this team since Dr. Buss acquired it and continues to be today.”Rob Pelinka, Via Sportingnews.com
Pelinka also added how important it was to put the roster back on track for the returning fans next season. Restrictions put in place during the COVID-19 pandemic are gradually being lifted. As a result, fans across the league have re-entered home arenas at larger capacities. The Laker faithful have yet to see their team in peak form since March 2020.
How Can Rob Pelinka Improve The Lakers?
Courting a good team around Anthony Davis and LeBron James isn’t the hardest thing to do. That said, Rob Pelinka has his work cut out for him. Aside from the dynamic duo, the only players on the books for 2022 are Marc Gasol, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Kyle Kuzma, and Alfonso McKinnie. Montrezl Harrell has a player option for next year, but he hasn’t yet opted in.
There are some players they could target, but the options are limited. They’ll only have a few assets at their disposal in the trade market this offseason. Early on, it seems that Kuzma is the odd man out.
As for their free agents, Alex Caruso has expressed his interest in coming back. Meanwhile, all signs point to Dennis Schroder playing elsewhere next season. Overall, the status of other players’ future on the team is currently unclear. All we know for certain is that changes are coming for the LA Lakers this Summer.