Los Angeles Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak has insisted that he is confident the organisation can ‘get better quickly’ during a busy summer this year.
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The Lakers finished this season with a 21-61 record, a franchise-worst in terms of losses and winning percentage in a regular season.
With trade deals not working out and injuries hitting Byron Scott’s roster hard, it was always going to be a struggle for the Western Conference giants, but they are eyeing the Draft and free agency this summer as ways of building a competitive roster.
“We can get better quickly. We can be in the hunt quickly. A lot depends on May 19 and how we end up with the [draft] lottery, the draft and the period leading up to the free agent period, which is July 1,” Kupchak said, according to ESPN.
“We are in a good position despite having a terrible year.”
The Lakers are projected to have enough salary cap space to acquire a max-level free agent this summer, with the likes of Marc Gasol, Rajon Rondo and Kevin Love all linked with a switch to the Staples Center.
However, it remains to be seen whether or not the franchise can convince those names to join them, as they have struggled in the past two years to acquire the top names available on the market.
Nevertheless, with Bryant expected to retire next summer, it will likely ensure that the team makes one final push to get back into the playoffs in order to give him a competitive send off provided he can steer clear of injuries.
Kupchak will likely speak to both Ed Davis and Jordan Hill this summer to keep them on while he will undoubtedly have been pleased with the progress of rookie Jordan Clarkson this year.
However, the roster still needs significant strengthening and it remains to be seen who the Lakers bring in as they will also have one eye on the new TV deal coming into force in 2016 which will give all teams even more financial room to work with.