The Los Angeles Lakers are a team trying to find itself and, in time, finding a way forward as a franchise. Rookie Lonzo Ball’s inconsistent play may be the story of the season for L.A., but what happens this summer is the more intriguing and, ultimately more important for the franchise.
The Lakers are in a bit of cap trouble with some big contracts on the books they want to get rid of, because their president Magic Johnson has publicly stated they want to sign two max free agents despite not having anywhere near enough money. Signing LeBron James and Paul George is their dream, but one that’s dying as they’re losing confidence that they can move Luol Deng without sacrificing an important pick or young player they want to build around, such as surprise standout Kyle Kuzma.
Those kind of talks aren’t supposed to be the focus for players on the current version of the Lakers, but it’s inevitable. Andrew Bogut says that the future of the Lakers has taken a toll on the current version of the team, especially since they have so many young players that have never had to deal with so many trade talks and uncertainty before. He spoke with the media on Saturday and said the “salary cap situation” has been tough for the young team to think about.
Bogut’s full quotes are fascinating and something we often overlook in sports. When players come in from college they’re almost always coming from proven, successful situations, or at the least a reasonably stable environment. It’s a huge transition that isn’t always easy for players.
But on a larger scale, it’s a question so many franchises struggle to answer. How does a bad franchise become a good one? Is there one magic bullet player that can make a seismic shift in an organization, or do players simply have to be unaffected by a bad culture until it’s changed for the better? Bogut admitting this season’s been hard is an honest answer, but when do things get better for the Lakers?
When it’s your career that’s in the balance on a bad team trying to improve, how do you not let what’s going on in the front office impact you? There are more questions than answers here, which is kind of the problem and why the Lakers’ front office’s task is so monumental. It’s just not often that the players involved admit that they’re thinking about it, too.