Yesterday, we told you about a rumor via Sam Amico: apparently, the Los Angeles Lakers are looking to move up in the draft via trade.
Today, Steve Kyler of HoopsWorld said on Twitter that he hasn’t heard anything about the Lakers looking to move up in the draft – in fact, they’ve apparently been very nonchalant about the entire process, even passing up the opportunity to interview prospects face-to-face:
RT @peylayous: Lakers wanting a 1st round, true or not? ---> Not from what I have heard. Was told most of non-guaranteed guys won't be back— Steve Kyler (@stevekylerNBA) May 18, 2013
RT @jaysway52: Rumor is Lakers want to move up in the draft. ---> they had guys filling out questionnaires at the combine— Steve Kyler (@stevekylerNBA) May 18, 2013
RT @jaysway52: ---> if they are trying to move up, they are going about wrong... seemed like they were going through the motions— Steve Kyler (@stevekylerNBA) May 18, 2013
RT @the_bowery: ---> seriously, guys said they walked into a room and were asked to fill out a form and that was the meeting with the Lakers— Steve Kyler (@stevekylerNBA) May 18, 2013
So, it seems either the Lakers aren’t interested in moving up in this year’s draft, or they want to make it look like they’re not. It’s possible that moving up in the draft may be one of the Lakers’ options in their off-season plans, but a lot of what they do will likely be influenced by Dwight Howard‘s decision.
The problem is, free agency doesn’t begin until July 1st, while the draft is on June 27th. Of course, Howard could give the Lakers a verbal commitment before free agency begins, but I think that’s doubtful seeing as he’ll likely want to listen to other teams before making his final decision.
Kyler also revealed that the Lakers have apparently been telling people that they’ll have six roster spots open this summer:
RT @jaysway52: Will Meeks and Antawn be back for the Lakers? ---> was told Lakers are telling people they'll have six roster spots open.— Steve Kyler (@stevekylerNBA) May 18, 2013
Right now, the Lakers have five players with guaranteed contracts: Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Steve Nash, Steve Blake and Jordan Hill – if Dwight Howard re-signs with the team, Metta World Peace opts-out or is amnestied, Jodie Meeks‘ team option is declined and Chris Duhon‘s deal is bought out, that would make up the six players Kyler is referring to.
The Lakers would then proceed to fill in the six roster spots by either re-signing their own free agents – Earl Clark, Darius Morris, etc – or signing other free agents using the mini-MLE or minimum contract deals. They can also trade for more players, of course, which is the harder option.
Whatever the Lakers choose to do, there will likely be a fair bit of action near the end of June and the beginning of July as the team attempts to revamp the roster, despite their limited resources.