With the 2022-23 NBA season officially in the books for the Los Angeles Lakers, the attention turns to what this team can do to continue being a force to be reckoned with next season and beyond.
Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka won’t find it easy to keep this current squad intact, with quite a few players set to become free agents and some having the door open to receive a lucrative contract extension, like rising star Austin Reaves.
After a forgettable performance in the Western Conference Finals, D’Angelo Russell’s future with the Lakers has become uncertain, as it is unclear whether the team wants to keep him and is willing to pay him this summer.
Although it seems like the Lakers may decide on re-signing Russell, ESPN’s Jalen Rose believes the team should let him walk in free agency, especially after what happened in Game 4, with Kyrie Irving watching courtside via NBA on ESPN.
"When you get benched in the closeout game while Kyrie Irving is sitting front row, that's a double message."
—@JalenRose on D'Angelo Russell returning to the Lakers (via NBA Today) pic.twitter.com/6IX5AllKVj
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) May 24, 2023
The Irving component of the team’s intentions this NBA offseason will weigh heavily on Russell’s immediate future, with it not being out of the realm of possibility that Los Angeles wants to go with the one-time NBA champion over the one-time All-Star.
Another interesting wrinkle in the Lakers’ offseason plans is the LeBron James factor and if he’s pushing the team to sign his former teammate.
Obviously, James’ considering retirement is the biggest issue for the Lakers, but it could also be a leverage play by the superstar forward to get the team to bring in Irving rather than re-sign Russell, which would be on brand for the future Hall of Famer.NEXT: JJ Redick Has A Clear Opinion About Anthony Davis