Culver City Observer -

By Mitch Chortkoff
Sports Editor 

The Lakers Next Season: Perhaps Better: Perhaps Worse

 

February 15, 2018



Magic Johnson isn’t the kind of guy who’ll watch opportunities come around and sit idly. We all know from his playing days that competitive spirit is one of his greatest qualities.

Now that he’s in charge of making the Lakers’ roster better he had a chance this week to do something bold and create $70 million in salary cap space within NBA limits, in an attempt to sign two elite free agents, even one this year and the other next year.

If you’re a Laker fan you’re applauding. You’re

happy this guy is on your side.

But it’s my job to show readers the various options and unfortunately in this case there’s also a chance Johnson’s decision will result in leaving the team in worse shape next season.

Sorry but that’s a possibility.

It will be up to elite free agents to decide what the outcome will be.

The Lakers are gambling that elite free agents will join them. But by trading Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. they’ve weakened the roster. And it isn’t a great roster as the Lakers have lost 10 games more than they’ve won and fell out of playoff consideration just a few months into the season.

The Lakers have been playing better lately but let’s not forget Clarkson was a major contributor in that stretch.

The Lakers aren’t high enough in the standings to expect Lebron James or Paul George to come running.

It’s been hard enough to win with Clarkson and Nance. Now it might be harder.

In addition I’m puzzled by the addition of point guard Isiah Thomas since the Lakers have heavily promoted rookie Lonzo Ball and it would seen likely he’d get most of the minutes at that position next season.

Johnson explains:

“We’re not in the playoffs,” he says. “We’re on the outside looking in. I don’t want us to stay in this position and the way to get better is to improve the roster.”

I go back a year when Jeannie Buss hired Johnson to lead the Lakers out of their dismal stretch that has resulted in no playoff victories since owner Jerry Buss died.

Johnson knows all about the NBA and he was honest enough to tell fans the Lakers’ greatness can’t be expected back for three to five years.

Well, LeBron and Paul George could shorten the distance but right now that’s only a dream.

 

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