In any offseason, the question of payroll and taxes is always a question for the Lakers, who have been known to be far more cost-conscious than teams of their market size and value typically are. It's not that they don't spend a lot on players - they obviously do - but they have limits teams like the Clippers and Warriors might not.
So now that the NBA's new CBA has put punitive penalties for high spending teams, measures that go well beyond just demanding more money and causing real pain when it comes to limitations on roster construction, what will the Lakers do?
On the one hand, the limitations that come with crossing the highest spending thresholds are real. On the other... when you have LeBron James, you kind of need to do everything you can to maximize the roster, right? So what's the best path to do that? There's no clear blueprint at this point, and it will be a looming factor in all the decisions the Lakers make this offseason. Does Rui Hachimura cost $17 million or $19? Does D'Angelo Russell cost $16 or $20? Even the balloon payments likely coming to Austin Reaves could impact LA's thinking, because a $26 million cap hit in two years could force some really hard choices.
The good news? Early signs point to a free agent market that could be more depressed than free spending, thanks to new rules combined with a player pool that is, to say the least, underwhelming. Everything that keeps prices down helps the Lakers, whether by making free agents cheaper to sign, or adding more flexibility to potential trades.
Fingers crossed, Lakers fans.
HOSTS: Andy and Brian Kamenetzky
SEGMENT 1: How much will money impact the way the Lakers approach roster construction this summer?
SEGMENT 2: What kinds of trade offs could be coming if the Lakers approach the "second apron?" How do you balance that with maximizing LeBron?
SEGMENT 3: Is the market going to help or hurt the Lakers this summer?
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The Lakers kicked off training camp with Media Day on Monday, and man alive, there was plenty of interesting stuff on the agenda. (What there wasn't? Drama! Tension! Controversy! It was ahistorical for a Lakers Media Day, to be honest.)
So without all the low-hanging, headline grabbing stuff...
The long offseason is over. The season starts today, as training camp kicks off with Media Day and the first official practices.
And it promises to be an exciting season for the Lakers, who are undoubtedly in the mix of the most elite teams in the NBA. Should they stay healthy - a fairly big if...