Lakers offseason preview: Free agents, targets & LeBron’s future

The Lakers’ offseason plans 2023 shouldn’t consist of that much. Rob Pelinka revamped the roster during the season, and he did an outstanding job for the most part. So, they only need to do a couple of minor tweaks to get over the hump and go back to championship contention.

Even so, this team needs to get younger and plan ahead for the future. LeBron James isn’t getting any younger, and we already know we cannot count on Anthony Davis to stay healthy for a full season, so they need to find more gunners.

Lakers offseason plans 2023

With that in mind, let’s take a look at the Lakers offseason plans 2023, some of the upcoming Lakers free agents, and what they should or shouldn’t do in the next couple of months if they want to raise banner No. 18 sooner rather than later.

Free agents

The Lakers’ roster could look a lot different next season if they don’t play their hand well. Malik Beasley didn’t pan out as well as they thought, so they’re unlikely to bring him back next season. As for Scottie Pippen Jr., he’s on a two-way contract, but he barely played.

Dennis Schroder has been inconsistent, but he’s a beloved member of the locker room. Troy Brown Jr. and Tristan Thompson gave them next to nothing in the playoffs, so they should be on their way out, and the same goes for D’Angelo Russell.

As for Rui Hachimura and Austin Reaves, they’ll reportedly match all offers for them, with the jury still being out on Lonnie Walker IV after showing glimpses of great play, and then falling out of the rotation after an injury and all the additions they made.

Potential offseason targets

As always, the Lakers offseason rumors will feature pretty much nearly every star available. They’ve always been tied to the most prominent names in the league, and most stars have cherished the opportunity of teaming up with LeBron James.

This offseason won’t be the exception to that rule. Some of the Lakers free agency targets in 2023 could consist of Kyle Kuzma, Kyrie Irving, Draymond Green, or even James Harden, assuming he opts out of the final year of his contract.

Then again, their main focus should be on keeping their core guys together for at least another season. They were quite close to reaching the NBA Finals, and they just need to match up better versus the Denver Nuggets or deeper teams like the Los Angeles Clippers.

What to make of Anthony Davis?

Truth be told, the Lakers simply cannot trust Anthony Davis. He was Alternate Days (AD) in the playoffs, at least offensively. His defense was on point for the most part, although he never had an answer for Nikola Jokic, but it’s hard to blame anyone for struggling against arguably the most versatile offensive player in the league right now.

The thing is that Davis is rarely healthy, and his motor goes on and off at times. His body language isn’t exactly encouraging, and it’s almost impossible for him to turn things around after a slow start. On the flip side, he can cool off as rapidly as he heats up when other teams double him.

There’s no denying that Davis is one of the most talented two-way players this game has ever seen. But the Lakers may need to come to terms with the fact that he’s not going to carry LeBron’s torch and be their go-to guy once The King is no longer in town.

Darvin Ham may not have one of the steepest head coach salaries, but he sure did an outstanding job of keeping his team in contention even with an inconsistent Davis. But they might need to consider all their options, and that includes trading him.

LeBron’s decline

On that same note, it’s time to start talking about the future of one of the greatest small forwards of all-time. LeBron James isn’t a teenager anymore, and he looked human for the first time in his career. He was literally gasping for air and even though he turned the intensity up a notch every couple of plays, especially against the Golden State Warriors, he’s not going to be the same player anymore, and that’s fine.

James has played for 20 full seasons at the highest level. It would be unrealistic of the Lakers to expect him to carry the load and be their go-to guy throughout a full 82-game season. He relied upon his teammates more often than usual in the playoffs, and that’s the way it should be going forward.

They cannot have James taking 20+ shots a night, driving through the lane, facilitating for others, and playing 38+ minutes. It’s been an elite run, and chances are that no one will ever be as good for as long as LeBron James was. We’re not saying he won’t be an All-Star caliber player anymore, but this playoff run may have been the beginning of the end.

The Lakers need to adjust and plan accordingly. James will play off the ball now more than ever, and get used to the occasional rest day, especially in back-to-back sets. If that doesn’t make you feel old, then I don’t know what will.

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