Back in 2014, top Lakers executive Jim Buss vowed in a statement to the Los Angeles Times that if the franchise didn’t return to Western Conference contention within three or four years, he would resign. However, as Bill Oram of The Orange County Register observes, comments made by Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak this week suggest a less aggressive timeline. While Kupchak said the team needs to improve on last year’s win total (17) by more than just “a game or two,” he stopped short of setting any specific goals related to win totals or playoff contention, and it sounds as if he’s in no rush to hurry along the rebuild. Whether Buss will continue to stick the contention timeline he established publicly two years ago remains to be seen.
Let’s round up a few more notes from out of Los Angeles…
- As he did a year ago, Metta World Peace will have to “earn his way” onto the Lakers‘ 15-man regular-season roster, Kupchak confirmed on Tuesday (Twitter links via Serena Winters of LakersNation.com). According to Kupchak, the veteran forward knows there’s a possibility he may not remain with the team when the regular season gets underway.
- As usual, the Clippers will head into the season without a standout player at the small forward position, prompting Doc Rivers to suggest that the competition for the starting spot is “wide open.” Dan Woike of The Orange County Register has the details and the quotes.
- In a separate piece for The Register, Woike notes that the Clippers significantly bolstered their basketball operations staff this year, having been “understaffed” in the past, per Rivers.
- The Clippers‘ title window remains open for now, but with Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and J.J. Redick eligible to reach the open market in 2017, Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times examines how much time the team will have before that window closes.