Lakers coach Byron Scott is taking an optimistic view of the future, even though the team may lose its lottery pick to the Sixers, Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times reports. Scott was impressed by the development of rookies Jordan Clarkson and Tarik Black and expects more help to come his way, Pincus continues. “We have a lot of room to improve as a basketball team,” he said to Lakers beat reporters. “We have a lot of room under the cap, some picks and free agency in July.” Scott admits he is sweating out the results of the draft lottery, Pincus reveals. The Lakers — who finished with the fourth worst overall record — will have to surrender their first-round pick to Philadelphia if they drop out of the top five, and there is a 17.2% chance of that happening, Pincus adds. The Lakers owed a pick to the Suns as part of the Steve Nash deal and it was later forwarded to the Sixers.
In other Lakers news:
- The Lakers need to strike this summer on the free agent market because many teams will have ample salary-cap room the following summer, Kevin Ding of Bleacher Report opines. When the revenue for the league’s new TV deal kicks in during the summer of 2016, the Lakers will have to compete much harder for free agents than they will this offseason, Ding explains. Signing a star player like Kevin Love or another quality piece like Greg Monroe would be ideal but even if they can only land a pair of above-average players, they should make those moves, Ding adds. By improving the team for next season, the Lakers can attract top-level free agents the following summer, Ding concludes.
- Forward Wesley Johnson is hoping to finally get a multi-year contract this summer, according to Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times. Johnson will enter the free agent market for the third consecutive year and is weary of settling for one-year deals, Bresnahan reports. Johnson signed one-year deals with the team the last two summers and hopes it leads to more security, since he’d prefer to stay in Los Angeles, Bresnahan adds. “I definitely don’t want to leave,” Johnson said to Bresnahan.
- Black is one of the few returning players expected to be on the team’s opening-day roster next season, Bresnahan reports in a separate article. Black has a contract for approximately $845K next season, though the money is not guaranteed. He impressed Lakers management after being acquired on waivers in late December from the Rockets, averaging 7.4 points and 6.3 rebounds, and both Scott and GM Mitch Kupchak praised Black during their end-of-the-season meeting with him, Bresnahan adds.