Best Free Agents Available for L.A. Lakers During 2013 Offseason

Kobe Bryant plays many different roles for the Los Angeles Lakers, but general manager is not one of them.

Still, the postseason plan the Mamba laid out during his exit interview is one that Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak would be wise to follow: add length, speed and athleticism to this aging roster (via Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times).

Of course, saying it is a lot easier than doing it, particularly with the Lakers facing a possible $85 million luxury tax bill.

The tax hit doesn't need to be quite so dramatic.

L.A. has $78 million committed to next year's payroll, assuming Metta World Peace does not opt out of his $7.7 million salary for next season (via Obviously that figure grows incrementally if the team finds a way to re-sign Dwight Howard, but it can also dip if the franchise opts to exercise its amnesty clause on Pau Gasol ($19.2 million) or World Peace.

Kobe Bryant ($30.4 million) isn't going anywhere. Likewise for Steve Nash ($9.3 million), Steve Blake ($4.0 million), Chris Duhon ($3.9 million) and Jordan Hill ($3.5 million). Jodie Meeks could also be a part of the mix, but the Lakers will determine his fate with a $1.5 million team option.

And according to, that leaves L.A. with nothing better than a mini mid-level exception (roughly $1.6 million) to attract any free agents.

Standing pat is not an option, but that's not the Lakers' way anyway. Same goes for penny-pinching, although there could be some change with Jim and Jeanie Buss now filling the legendary shoes of their late father, Jerry.

There's room for improvement; even some length, speed and athleticism to be had.

Begin Slideshow


About the Author