The Los Angeles Lakers have a big off-season coming up after the defending NBA champions were knocked out in the first round of the playoffs by the Phoenix Suns.
It was a shock to see the purple and gold bow out so early in the playoffs. It was the first time LeBron James had been eliminated at the first hurdle, which raised questions about the direction the Lakers will be taking in terms of recruitment going into next season.
James and Anthony Davis' injury problems are being spoken about as the main reasons why the Lakers succumbed to the Suns. But the Lakers bench and their in-season acquisitions like Andre Drummond failed to have the desired impact when the opportunity to step up presented itself.
According to ESPN's Brian Windhorst, the Lakers will not be able to make a big signing this summer owing to the financial commitments already in place. The Lakers have around $100 million committed to four players including James, Davis, Kyle Kuzma and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.
"The Lakers fans dream of signing a big-time player this summer, that's not gonna happen," Windhorst said speaking on ESPN's "The Jump."
However, there is likely to be plenty of movement with several players entering unrestricted free agency. Andre Drummond, Denis Schroder and Alex Caruso will be free agents, while Montrezl Harrell has a $9.7 million player option to consider.
Lakers president of basketball operations Rob Pelinka, who is centre to the franchise's recruitment policy, said that it will be a collaborative effort. He expects not only the front office and the coaching staff but also the team's two superstars – James and Davis – to have a say in the players staying or joining the Los Angeles outfit.
"I think when it comes to roster building, you guys know we've been very collaborative," Pelinka said, as quoted on Lakers Nation. "Anthony Davis and LeBron James are championship pillars of this franchise for years to come and of course they're gonna be involved in how we build our roster, how we have built our roster."
"Both great basketball minds, and Frank as well. I think the cohesiveness in making these decisions between your star players, the head coach and the front office is really important and that will continue to be our process moving forward."