Should LA Lakers Bring Back Ryan Kelly Next Season?

Ryan Kelly’s recent emergence this season will force the Los Angeles Lakers to consider this summer whether or not to bring him back for next season.

Kelly was a second-round pick from the 2013 NBA draft with very low expectations.’s scouting report suggested he would have trouble finding a landing spot in the league, and that he might have trouble actually earning playing time.

And yet, he has become a starter for the Lakers because his game fits within the framework of the team.

Kelly represents an interesting dilemma for a Lakers franchise looking to make big free-agent signings in the offseason. Indeed, the Lakers lined up all of their cards specifically with the idea of rebuilding in this manner.

Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak outlined this to Mike Trudell over at

Several years ago, we made a conscious decision to line contracts up for this coming year of free agency. If you look at our payroll a year ago, with the exception of Steve Nash, we didn't have anybody under contract (for 2014-15). That didn't have so much to do with who was going to be a free agent in 2014, but more a function of some planning of how our roster (looked).

You really have to be conscious of when players get to a certain age. Even though they are great players, they’re used to being paid at a certain level. And a lot of times you end up paying a guy a year to two longer than you should. This happens with championship teams, and we didn't want to have a bunch of guys locked up at the ages of 35, 36, and 37. We’d rather have the flexibility to make some decisions.

The team needs all of the cap space it can get in order to make a run at a star, but it also needs players at modest costs.

Kelly has a qualifying offer of $1 million for the 2014-15 season, and he will be 23 years old by the time training camp opens up.

Thus, the La...

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