LAKER NEWS: 5 Lakers Playing Their Final Postseason in Los Angeles

The 2023-24 NBA playoffs are here but it won’t be much longer until the offseason is upon us. With that in mind, these five Lakers are probably playing their final postseason in Los Angeles.

PG D'Angelo Russell is likely playing his final postseason in Los Angeles.

After eight grueling months, the Los Angeles Lakers are ready to chase an NBA Championship this postseason. Even though the regular season was far from perfect, that’s okay because the playoffs offer a clean slate for everyone. Besides, everyone should know by now not to doubt LeBron James and Anthony Davis in the postseason.

While it’s fun to look forward to playoff basketball, let’s not forget that the NBA offseason is on the horizon. Regardless of how the Lakers’ postseason run goes, there’s a good chance that a handful of players are experiencing the playoffs in Los Angeles for the last time.

Here are five Lakers who are likely playing their final postseason with the franchise.

1. D’Angelo Russell, PG/SG

After a putrid 2022-23 playoff run, Lakers fans were ready to be done with D’Angelo Russell. Fortunately, the veteran point guard managed to turn things around this year and was a big factor in Los Angeles extending its campaign.

Russell proved that he’s still capable of being a starting PG this season, averaging about 18.0 points, 6.4 assists, and 3.1 rebounds while shooting 45.5% from the floor and a career-best 41.3% from deep. If he can keep performing at that level during the playoffs, it’ll certainly make up for his previous postseason run.

But even though Russell has exceeded expectations, his future in Los Angeles isn’t guaranteed. After all, the former Ohio State Buckeye heads into the offseason with an $18.6 million player option. If this was last year, I would say that his accepting it would be a no-brainer, but there’s a good chance that he can make even more money in free agency after balling out this season.

Maybe there’s still a world where Russell opts to re-sign with the Lakers, but I won’t hold my breath. Players dream of cashing in on big paydays and this could be the 28-year-old’s last chance at a big-money, long-term deal.

2. Taurean Prince, SF/SG

In a season where the Lakers’ lineup has been riddled by injuries, Taurean Prince has been a consistent presence. You only need one hand to count the number of games that the veteran wing has missed this season and, fortunately, he’s made the most of his opportunities.

Prince does a little bit of everything, averaging around nine points, three rebounds, and nearly two assists per game. He’s made a career of being a deep threat, which is a trend that has continued into his eighth NBA campaign as he averages 1.8 threes made with a 39.4% success rate.

 

 

As solid as Prince has been, there’s also a chance that he will depart the City of Angels this offseason. The 30-year-old is slated to hit free agency this summer and will likely weigh his options. Considering how the Lakers were only willing to re-sign him to a one-year deal last offseason, it’s safe to say that the team might not be too keen to keep him around for the long term.

 

 

I think Prince is serviceable and I wouldn’t mind him returning on another one-year contract, but if he wants to test his worth in free agency, you can’t blame him for trying.

3. Spencer Dinwiddie, PG/SG

Spencer Dinwiddie was a late addition to the 2023-24 Lakers roster. After being traded from the Brooklyn Nets to the Toronto Raptors at the trade deadline, the veteran point guard was waived by the Raptors, allowing him to sign with Los Angeles for the remainder of the year.

It’s safe to say that Dinwiddie has not lived up to expectations since joining the Lakers. The ex-Colorado product is averaging about 6.8 points, 2.5 assists, and 1.7 rebounds while playing nearly 25 minutes per outing. While his 38.6% shooting on 3.3 three-point attempts per game is solid, he’s only tallying an uninspiring 39.4% success rate from the field.

What’s disappointing is how much worse Dinwiddie’s play has gotten since leaving Brooklyn. He went from an average of 20.3 points and 9.7 assists per 100 possessions with the Nets to 13.2 and 4.8, respectively during his time with the Lakers. It’s clear that he just isn’t a good fit for Darvin Ham’s lineup.

Like Prince, Dinwiddie is also an unrestricted free agent this offseason. Given how he’s played since the trade deadline, I don’t see the Lakers being on board to re-sign him. Maybe he has something left in the tank, but he likely needs a fresh start to figure that out.

4. Harry Giles, PF/C

Harry Giles is another veteran who didn’t join the Lakers until the latter half of the 2023-24 campaign. Like Dinwiddie, Giles was waived by the Nets at the trade deadline only to sign with the Lakers on a two-way deal nearly one month later.

In the past, Giles — a former 2017 first-round selection — was a decent backup big-man option. It’d be great if he could fill that role on Los Angeles’ roster, but that hasn’t been the case. The former Duke Blue Devil is only averaging 0.3 points and 0.3 rebounds with a 16.7 FG% while playing nearly three minutes per night across six games and hasn’t even suited up since March 27.

I just don’t see a world where the Lakers re-sign Giles after his abysmal performance. Even though he’s only 25, it looks like his best years are behind him and he no longer looks like an everyday NBAer. Forget about Los Angeles: it’s going to take a lot for him to convince any team to sign him.

Hopefully, Giles figures out how to get his game back on track because he was solid earlier in his career. A fresh start is what’s clearly needed, so look for him to attempt a comeback with another team (or an entirely different league).

5. LeBron James, PF/C

Lakers fans don’t want to imagine a world without LeBron James, but it’s something that must be considered in the coming months.

James has been nothing but terrific since joining the Lakers back in 2018. The four-time NBA MVP has remained one of the league’s best players even at this stage of his career and nobody will forget his delivering a championship to Los Angeles in 2020 (even if it took place in the infamous Bubble).

As great as this run has been, all good things come to an end and that could be the case for the 39-year-old’s time in Los Angeles. After all, James heads into the 2024 NBA offseason with a $51.4 million player option. Considering how he’s been open to wanting to play at least one season with his son, Bronny, it’s entirely possible that “The King” opts out and signs with whichever team drafts his heir.

Additionally, opting out of his player option is the only pathway to James getting another no-trade clause on his contract. That’s not to say that he won’t re-sign with the Lakers if he chooses that direction, but it does open the door to other teams offering him a deal.

Hopefully, James realizes that sticking with the Lakers is the best way to win one more championship — potentially even with his son. Otherwise, this could be the greatest NBA player’s last postseason in Tinseltown.

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