Lakers Say Contract Drives No Concern

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HANG TIME WEST – Just in case the Lakers don’t have enough hot spots to deal with, the 2013-14 schedule opens next week with every starter save Steve Nash, and possibly the entire rotation except for Nash, heading toward free agency. This creates the potential of a locker room full of players going for individual numbers to pad their resumes in preparation for next July 1.

“It’s pretty unique,” Nash said. “I guess it’s a unique situation and a bit of a strange one. But at the same time, I think it’s real important that we find the chemistry. You don’t want it to feel transient. You want this year to feel legitimate and guys feel like they’re really getting an opportunity to audition for the future and that they’ve built a great team this year at the same time.”

The Lakers insist there is no issue — players will be professional, won’t be selling out the team approach as part of a contract drive, etc. Of course, it’s easy to say that now. If the losses start piling up and the mood goes bad, infections spread.

Nash has two seasons left on his deal and Nick Young has this season and 2014-15 at a player option, meaning he can declare himself a free agent (and almost certainly would) if he feels he can beat the $1.2 million due next season. Otherwise, the only Laker under contract beyond July 1 is second-year center Robert Sacre, who averaged 6.3 minutes a game last season. Elias Harris is another possible player under contract with a non-guaranteed deal after going undrafted out of Gonzaga.

“Actually, I think it’s easy, because we’ve got really good guys that know that they’re not going to be successful without the other guys,” coach Mike D’Antoni said. “They’re very attentive to what we’re doing and trying to buy in. It’s good. We’ve got a bunch of great guys. Whether they’re on their last year or not, they’re coming to play because they love to play basketball. You can see it in them. It’s a nice atmosphere.”

The key to avoiding players falling into a contract drive, he said, is “That guy won’t be playing a whole lot. It just kind of takes care of itself. They’re more professional than that. You’re not going to have anybody selfish playing.”

At least the biggest of the free agents is the least of the concerns. Kobe Bryant is not auditioning for the next job because he has said he will only play for the Lakers if he plays anywhere. Plus, he’s not auditioning because he’s Kobe Bryant.

While the timing of so many contracts expiring at once is a possible distraction — and also purposely timed — there is also the benefit of clearing major cap room in summer 2014 for free agents and the ability to take on big money in trades. They are not painted into a corner by deals. The Lakers are about to finally get under the cap and will do so just in time — with their championship hopes over and several big names about to hit the market.

14 Comments

  1. Tony says:

    Nothing I hate more than Bandwagon fans who root for winners because they are lifelong losers themselves.

  2. qdqq says:

    I dont see the Lakers giving kobe another oppertunity to win, Kobe got maybe 2 years left in his career at best, id be suprised if his body holds up during this season, Its hard to say tho, achilles tear is a nasty injury, specially for a 35 year old. Just dont see the lakers having time to build a real contending team in these 2 years, but we will see.

  3. Dyllon D says:

    Lol the Lakers aren’t tanking and if Ppl payed attention last season injuries were the problem and lack of Defense which was due to no chemistry and coaching changes lol SMH! And yea it makes sense to quit eventhough its Lebron’s era mind you the spurs let that championship slip they had it lol

  4. okc2014 says:

    Is coach D’Antonini also facing an expiring contract and facing free agency too? I hope so.

  5. joe says:

    I’m a laker fan but without kobe were done kobe stay!

  6. GOLDENSTATENATION87 says:

    how can you say something like that..? the lakers arent gonna do anything just like last year when everyone made all this hype about Howard coming to LA and look how that turned out.. As long as Kobe is still running things the lakers will never get back!! hes a great player but he has to know when his time has come its LeBron’s turn because hes already gotten two rings during the Kobe era so its over..

    • TadaDoctorK says:

      Howard never had a more commanding player than him on his team. So last year Howard helping the Lakers win was helping Kobe win. He wants all the good attention and the credit for something that should go to a team. He recently even mentioned he tought he would have his jersey retired by the Majic. I have never heard any top player say something like that wile still paying. Has for this version of the Lakers, i think Kobe will do what he has to do and if it means score beacause his team his stagnant or be a distributor and ride the hot hand he will cause it’s more about the big picture and he knows how that camera is build. See what he did for team USA, But i have to admit that by mid season if he does not see the team gel and dominate some games with him on the bench he will beak the team himself.

    • drose2014mvp says:

      last year was nothing but confusion for los angeles. dwight was nothing but hype, you’re right. Kobe at his age in his 18th season is still top 5 players in the nba. no one has a killer instinct like kobe, an alpha male style of attack when he goes on his scoring rampages, the level of clutch kobe has etc. if kobe were to be equipped with a solid team he would on doubt still contend for the ring. but of course it won’t happen.. also lebron didn’t win 2 rings in kobe’s era lol.. his era ended 4 years ago.. just because he’s still in the league doesn’t mean it’s his era. if that was the case kobe technically won 3 rings in jordan’s era since he didn’t retire until 03.

      • Van says:

        Info– Jordan only played one of those years that Kobe won a ring. It was his first two championship wins. 2001-2002 season. 2002-2003 season- Spurs were champs. So technically Kobe won only one ring when Jordan was in uniform. Jordan had just turn 40. If he was 35 like Kobe is now; it would still Jordan’s era. Stop putting Kobe and Jordan in the same sentence. When will people learn. Go Heat.

      • Van says:

        Typo– it was only one championship. @drose.

  7. 2014 will be the year of the lakers, just ya’ll wait and see…they’ll be tanking this season…kobe will keep shooting to reach the top of the scoring list and when 2014 comes…he’ll give way to the other superstars