The Los Angeles Lakers are set to have very few players from their 2020 championship run. General manager Rob Pelinka has shown a willingness to change up the roster no matter how much success it’s had in the past. That didn’t work out well last season as the team got knocked out in the first round of the playoffs.
The Lakers have completely rebuilt the roster after the disappointing season and aren’t bringing back many familiar faces. The latest player from last year’s squad to move on is forward Devontae Cacok. He’s signing a deal with the Brooklyn Nets, per Shams Charania of The Athletic.
Cacok is only 25-years-old so could’ve been an option to bring some youth to the Lakers. However, they never showed much interest in bringing him back this offseason. He played 20 games for the team last season and averaged 2.0 points a game. He was also part of the championship run but only played in one game. There’s no guarantee he’ll make the Nets’ opening day roster but the Lakers liked having him around. He could bring some energy to the bench for Brooklyn as they should be competing for a championship this upcoming season.
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Lakers Only Returning 3 Players From Last Year’s Squad
With Cacok heading to Brooklyn, the Lakers look like they’re set to only bring back three players from last year’s team. LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Talen Horton-Tucker are the only three players set to return. Obviously, Davis and LeBron weren’t going anywhere this offseason but the team could’ve lost Horton-Tucker. It’ll be good to have him back so they have at least one homegrown piece.
All the turnover could end up being a good thing. There were times the Lakers looked like the best team in basketball last season but they were way too reliant on Davis and LeBron. That shouldn’t be the case with this new roster. Russell Westbrook can win the teams some games without the other two superstars on the court. The Lakers are old but their depth is much better and less reliant on an injury-prone Davis and 36-year-old LeBron.
Nets & Lakers to Clash in NBA Finals?
The Lakers have a former Net in DeAndre Jordan and now the Nets have a former Laker in Cacok. Neither of those moves will make that big of an impact but the battle between the two teams throughout the season will be fun to watch. The Lakers should widely be considered the favorites in the Western Conference while the Nets should be the favorite in the East if they can stay healthy.
A matchup between the two teams in the Finals would be the most exciting in years. It would be a clash between arguably the NBA”s two best players in LeBron and Kevin Durant. There’s also the rivalry between Kyrie Irving and the Lakers star. Oftentimes, injuries derail the perfect Finals matchups. Hopefully, that won’t be the case this year.