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If Lakers co-owner Jim Buss has proven anything this season, it’s a commitment to Bryant and a willingness to do whatever it takes to keep of the franchise’s greatest players ever happy. Communicating with Bryant after he voiced some concerns publicly is just another example of that, but whether he lets his opinion impact the team’s rebuilding plan is another story.
The Lakers’ best opportunity to rebuild could be the summer of 2015 when more obtainable top-level free agents like Rajon Rondo and Kevin Love are set to hit the market. This summer’s free agent crop, while potentially stocked with All-Stars like Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James, projects to be a lot more difficult to make noise in – especially with Bryant’s two-year extension kicking in.
The Lakers’ offseason will begin as soon as the regular season ends. Shortly after will be the draft lottery and perhaps even before then a decision will have to be made regarding the status of head coach Mike D’Antoni.
Bryant’s voice is clearly being heard, we’ll know in short order, though, how much it’s actually being listened to.
Chalk up another loss for the 2014 NBA Draft Class, which could become significantly thinner if Jabari Parker and Joel Embiid decide to hold off on declaring as well.
Saric, the 2013 FIBA Young Men’s Player of the Year, is one of the top small forward prospects and a projected lottery pick. However, his desire to play in the NBA seems minimal right now. He pulled out of last year’s draft and now may not have a NBA out for a couple of years in his new deal. There will likely still be interest in him once it expires, but a trend seems to be forming. He’s highly rated and respected; if the NBA is where he wanted to be, he’d declare and pass on this deal.
Typically when a player is projected to go as high as Embiid is the decision is made for him. However, like Oklahoma State point guard Marcus Smart last year, Embiid appears to be open to passing on being a top three draft pick. He’s been very non-committal. His late-season injury could be used as reasoning to either stay or go, but the NBA’s deadline for early entry is April 27, so we’ll know in short fashion what the potentially top overall selection is going to do. With nobody else really blowing scouts away, Embiid could still very likely go No. 1.
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