What if Jeanie Buss and Rob Pelinka coauthored a statement in order to assure their fanbase that all was going according to plan, and next year would be spectacular? Much like how the President gives a State of the Union speech every year, here is an imagined “State of the Lakers” address.
Note: This is for satirical purposes only. This was not written by Jeanie Buss and Rob Pelinka.
Dear Lakers Nation,
We would like to say thank you for your continued support to the greatest franchise in the history of the NBA. While the NBA’s 75th season may not have had a storybook ending with the best franchise winning it all, we have put ourselves in a position to succeed and prosper, in order to maximize the time we have with LeBron James.
We are very excited by the hiring of Darvin Ham, your Los Angeles Lakers’ new Head Coach. Ham will take the franchise in a bold, new direction, away from the drama of the past year. He’s already begun his work on Russell Westbrook, transforming him into an off-ball, defensive- minded player who will easily win 6th Man of the Year. If Westbrook decides that this new, winning play style is unsatisfactory, then it may be in our best interest to part ways. Trades have already been put in place with the Indiana Pacers for Buddy Hield and Myles Turner, and the Charlotte Hornets for Gordon Hayward, Kelly Oubre, Jr, maybe Terry Rozier. We’ll do what we need to do in these situations. If a second-round pick must be lost, well, they normally don’t pan out anyway.
There have been swirling ties to our organization and Kyrie Irving, the gifted point guard from Brooklyn. If, indeed, Irving is interested in coming to the Lakers, we would love to have him; assuming, of course, that he would be willing to suit up for over 70 games.
Anthony Davis has spent the summer rehabbing his previous injuries, and we can now say that he is at full strength, and ready for another amazing season. He’s cut down on his muscle some, so he can turn back the clock to the shot blocking machine he was in 2014. Plus, his three-point shot has become deadly.
No, I really mean deadly. You just have to wait and see it. The organization can barely control its excitement.
For the upcoming 2022-23 season, we are spending $166 million on our active players, and $17 million on cap holds. This means we are spending a total of $183,475,487 on our players. Since the luxury tax threshold is $150,267,000, this means that we are roughly $16 million into the luxury cap, coming to a bill of around $32 million for us. Our cap situation isn’t great, but if you keep coming to games and generating revenue for the Lakers, we’ll easily be able to get through it. Los Angeles is the greatest city in California, and we want Crypto.com Arena packed every night!
While 14 of our players are on cap holds, meaning we can’t dismiss them from our salary cap equation, only four current players are signed to deals for the 2023-24 season — Anthony Davis, Talen Horton-Tucker, Damian Jones, and incoming rookie Max Christie. The salaries of those four players combined comes out to around $55 million, while the holds on salary cap account for around $139 million. This means that if we chose not to re-sign most of our players, we could have around $66 million in cap space! There aren’t a ton of All-Stars available in 2023 free agency, but there are some, with guys like Khris Middleton, Kevin Love, Andrew Wiggins, D’Angelo Russell, and Christian Wood open on the market. Come on, it’s Los Angeles! Everyone wants to play here.
Of course, the players on cap holds for next year, LeBron James, Russell Westbrook, Lonnie Walker, Kendrick Nunn, Austin Reaves, Troy Brown, Jr, Thomas Bryant, Juan Toscano-Anderson, Jared Dudley, Wenyen Gabriel, Dion Waiters, Stanley Johnson, Kostas Antetokounmpo, and Scotty Pippen, Jr, will work as diligently as possible, and a decent amount will likely return to our franchise next year. For the few that will end up leaving (or being traded), we thank you for the work you put in this season to make this a great team. We wish you all the best in your future endeavors.
Now, we’ve talked about AD’s three-point shot, Westbrook’s new role, our cap situation, Coach Ham, Uncle Drew; who else? Ah yes, the one and only LeBron James.
Is LeBron the greatest Laker of all time? Certainly not. Is he the Greatest Player of All Time? Again, certainly not; I’ve seen both him and Michael Jordan play in person, and the impact isn’t even close. Will LeBron take the Lakers to a championship on his 37-year old back? Let’s hope (but I highly doubt it)!
Wait. Where was I going with this?
I don’t know.
I miss Kobe Bryant.
Oh right! LeBron is eligible to sign a contract extension with us on August 4th, 2022. Lakers fans, please don’t freak out when he chooses not to. LeBron is amazing at maximizing his earnings, and he’s not going to choose to re-sign when the salary cap will increase a bit next year and he can make even more money.
Then again, LeBron could also just be plotting to leave…
If he does, that’s his choice, and we fully respect it. However, one thing this organization will not tolerate is paying LeBron max money for his final few years in the NBA as he goes on a retirement tour. He hasn’t done enough for this organization to earn that. Kobe won five championships with us, Shaquille O’Neal won three, Magic Johnson won five, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar won five.
Wait; why are we dissing the franchise’s best player in a letter that will be seen by likely all of the public?
Just discount most of that last part. I don’t feel like deleting anything. Our over-under for wins this upcoming season is 46.5, a number that would easily get us into the playoffs! We have experience, we have veterans, we have young guys, and some free agents that, with the exception of Thomas Bryant, aren’t regarded as great or even good shooters.
There is so much to be excited for during this 2022-23 season. While the goal is a championship, it will just be an honor to get to share so many amazing moments with all of you this year.
We love you Laker Nation, despite the fact our actions say otherwise.
Can’t wait to see everyone out there this season!
Rob Pelinka & Jeanie Buss