The Los Angeles Lakers are still fresh off of winning the 17th title in franchise history but it's never too early to look to the future.
While the champagne is still flowing for the Lakers, the front office will have one eye on the offseason as they look to bolster the roster ahead of their title defence.
So what's next for the Lakers?
The 2020 NBA Draft
The Lakers have one pick in the 2020 NBA Draft: No. 28.
Our draft expert, Eric Fawcett, has the Lakers selecting Jordan Nwora with that pick in his most recent mock draft. A 6-foot-7 forward from Louisville, Nwora averaged 18.0 points and 7.7 rebounds per game last season on 40.2% shooting from the 3-point line on 6.1 attempts per game.
As one of the oldest teams in the league, the Lakers will be looking to get some youthful production from their pick - if it isn't moved in another offseason deal. They've had success in recent years picking late in the first round, drafting the likes of Kyle Kuzma, Larry Nance Jr, Ivica Zubac, Josh Hart, Moe Wagner, Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk and Talen Horton-Tucker.
Other notable players appearing in mock drafts late in the first round include Aleksej Pokusevski (Olympiacos B), Tre Jones (Duke), Nico Mannion (Arizona), Josh Green (Arizona) and Cassius Winston (Michigan State).
Priority No.1: re-sign Anthony Davis
After winning the NBA championship in his first season with the Lakers, Davis has little reason to look elsewhere in free agency.
Davis led the Lakers in points, rebounds, steals and blocks per game during the regular season, averaging 26.1 points, 9.3 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 2.3 blocks, while finishing second in Defensive Player of the Year voting and being named to the All-NBA First Team.
The 27-year-old has one year remaining on his current deal, which is a player option worth $28.8 million. Davis has two options: 1) he can opt-in for next season and hold off on free agency until the 2021 offseason or 2) he opt-out to sign a long-term deal with the Lakers this offseason.
There's no guarantee what the salary cap will look like moving forward given the loss of revenue due to COVID-19, but for the Lakers, re-signing Davis to a long-term contract is the priority. For Davis, who in the past has said he'd "take legacy over money," he can sign a five-year, $172.5 million deal if he opts out or a five-year, $177 million deal in the 2021 offseason.
The recent moves made by Rob Pelinka, only giving out two-year deals, have given them a ton of flexibility, with only six players under contract for next season (LeBron James, Danny Green, Quinn Cook, Alex Caruso, Kyle Kuzma and Taylor Horton-Tucker).
Meanwhile, several key players have player options for next season. Caldwell-Pope's impressive showing in the Finals will no doubt have teams interested in his services if he opts out of his $8.4 million player option, although that seems unlikely given his fit on the team and his relationship with James and Davis, who all share the same agency, Klutch Sports.
Rajon Rondo ($2.6 million), Avery Bradley ($5.0 million) and JaVale McGee ($4.2 million) each have a player option for next season as well.
Additionally, Dwight Howard, Jared Dudley and Markieff Morris will be unrestricted free agents this offseason.
Filling out the roster
Barring a blockbuster trade to bring in a third star to pair with LeBron and Davis, the Lakers won't rest on their laurels and will look to fill the roster with more complementary pieces.
Markieff Morris was a savvy acquisition at the deadline, contributing 10.5 points on 42.3% shooting from the 3-point line in the first four games of the Finals. As history has shown us, the best path to success with LeBron is to surround him with shooters and defensive-minded 3-and-D guys.
As LeBron approaches 36 ahead of next season, he will no doubt continue his transition to full-time floor general. Rondo was solid for the Lakers as a playmaker, especially in the minutes when LeBron was off the floor, so getting another ball-handler who can create his own shot will be of interest from Rob Pelinka.
The Lakers are always an attractive destination for players and now with the added shine of a championship, expect a queue of veterans lining up to join their already dominant roster, whether it's the likes of Rondo and Morris or other free agents.
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