Breaking Down Why LA Lakers Are Preserving 2014 Cap Space Above Everything

The Los Angeles Lakers franchise didn't die when Dwight Howard decided to take his talents to Houston, and for legions of Lakers detractors who suggest otherwise, simply look no further than the summer of 2014.

The Lakers may be down right now, but no other franchise in NBA history has ever rebuilt as quickly as Los Angeles, and the stars may be aligning for a return to contender status even faster than most imagined.

If the Lakers fail to qualify for the 2014 postseason, they have a lottery selection in the first round of what some are calling the deepest NBA draft in recent memory.

Even if the Lakers fail to land Jabari Parker or Andrew Wiggins, who are considered the best players in next year's draft class, there are still others who have the talent and ability to have an immediate impact, such as Kentucky's Julius Randle.

When it comes to the NBA draft, there is no such thing as a sure-fire guarantee, regardless of what some analysts would have you think. But the Lakers' 2014 first-round pick is only one component of the optimism surrounding the franchise's future.

As most people know, point guard Steve Nash should be the only Laker under contract at the conclusion of next season, which means the Lakers will have plenty of money to throw around at an impressive 2014 free-agency class.

And that could be a very scary prospect for the rest of the NBA—unrestricted status or not.

For some reason, there is a theory that says most of the restricted free agents will be off-limits to the Lakers since their current teams hold the right to match any offer made by another team. But that doesn't mean said player will be comfortable with that match.

The potential to earn maximum money is a big thing, but LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, Dwight Howard and Andre Iguodala are some of the biggest names to switch teams, proving money isn't the only thing. Article Source: Bleacher Report - Los Angeles Lakers