The Los Angeles Lakers are one of the most popular basketball teams in the history of the NBA. Named for the many lakes in their home state of Minnesota, the team later moved to Los Angeles and became known for players like Magic Johnson and Wilt Chamberlain along with Kobe Bryant and Lebron James. The team is even popular enough that HBO Max released a series dedicated to the heyday of the team. Whether or not you watched that series, you can find out what is in store for the Lakers for the rest of 2022.
Known for bringing the NBA championship back to his native Cleveland, Lebron James later shocked fans when he moved to California. Though he became an important part of the team, he’s not always happy. James was very outspoken about the team’s future and went so far as to claim they should give up their first-round draft pick. This led to some questions about his fate and whether he’ll remain a Laker. As the team has a salary cap and keeps nearing its limit for the 2023 season, there’s always a chance that James may move on to greener pastures.
A Building Season
With all of the problems that the Lakers recently had, it’s clear that the rest of the year and next season will be a time for building and rebuilding. Though Kendrick Nunn is still on the fence about staying with the team, he’ll likely stick around. Combine him with James and the rest of the starting lineup, and the Lakers still need to replace half of their team. Stanley Johnson may stick around too, but his contract is cheap enough that the team will still have some cash to throw around on new players.
Vogel is Out
Fans know Frank Vogel, though some don’t like him as much as others do. Vogel helped the Lakers achieve one of the top defense strategies in the NBA for three years in a row. There are some worries that he has too much control over the organization though, especially after he received a championship ring as a coach. Vogel had some issues during the 2021/2022 season that led to the Lakers losing a spot in the playoffs and struggling during the later part of the season. Though he’ll likely be out, he may decide to move to a different team instead of retiring.
Say Goodbye to Anthony Davis
The Lakers ruffled some feathers when the team spent a lot of time and effort to bring Anthony Davis to Los Angeles. Davis had some success with the Pelicans in New Orleans but didn’t live up to the team’s expectations. It doesn’t help that he had some health problems that led to him riding the bench for multiple games. There are some Lakers rumors that claim the team will trade him during the off-season to make room on the roster for other players. If they do lose Davis, it leaves the team enough money in the budget to cover up to three new players. Even if he does stay, the chances are good that he won’t be a starting player.
Russell Westbrook Trade Options
Another thing that may affect the future of the Lakers is what the team decides to do about Russell Westbrook. Westbrook spent more than a decade with the Thunder and a year with both the Rockets and Wizards before moving to California in a trade with the Lakers. After a game in early April, it was quite vocal about what Vogel and other coaches needed to do to get the team back on top, which led to some rumors that he might be on his way out. The Lakers aren’t happy with his playing style, and many fans view his trade as a failure. Julius Randle is one of the top choices to replace Westbrook if the Lakers decide to trade him during the off-season.
Though the Lakers won a championship in 2020, it came after a decade of issues. The 2021/2022 season showed that the team still has a lot of work to do if they want to make it back to the top of the NBA. As a fan of the team, you should expect to see some big changes and trades happening the rest of the year and during the off-season.