The Los Angeles Lakers played their cards this offseason, landing several veterans to take the team to the next level in the Western Conference. After a disappointing first-round exit in the 2021 NBA playoff, the purple and gold are ready to take revenge.
Following the Russell Westbrook trade and a couple of minimum deals, the LakeShow is ready to take over the league and win the Larry O'Brien trophy for the second time in three years.
They pulled off excellent moves. Some fans could say every player that got the vet minimum is ring chasing, but that's pretty much what 90% of the league is doing. Talking about these moves, the team owner Jeanie Buss explained that it was good to see so many good players take a big pay cut to join the Lakers this offseason.
"We're over the cap," Buss told Daniel Kaplan of The Athletic. "We have really no room. When we made that trade (for Westbrook), we knew we'd have to fill the roster with seven or eight players at the veterans minimum. And so trying to convince players to come on one-year deals for the minimum is a challenge. So you get a lot of guys that are willing to take less money for the opportunity to possibly go for a championship, or play in a city that has other opportunities as they transition to the next part of their career. And we kind of had to capitalize on that because we've got three players taking up 90 percent of our payroll, and certainly, Russell Westbrook. You know we've got a big three now, and Russell is somebody that's from L.A., went to UCLA, and I think our fans are going to be just cuckoo for him, are going to be so happy that he's here. It's like the return of one of our own."
After an entertaining offseason, only LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Russell Westbrook, Talen Horton-Tucker, and Kendrick Nunn are the only players that didn't sign a minimum deal with the team. This means that their Big 3 is making 10x more than the rest of the squad this year.
Carmelo Anthony, Dwight Howard, Trevor Ariza, Wayne Ellington, Malik Monk, and Kent Bazemore settled with the minimum contract. This is a very talented squad that will make a lot of noise next season.
Of course, this earned the Lakers a lot of hate in recent weeks, but it's not like they haven't experienced that before. They are ready to bounce back, and this group is capable of achieving meaningful things.