Lakers Wrap Season with Exit Interviews
The Lakers’ 2016-17 season is officially in the past now that the team has wrapped up its annual exit interviews.
The purple and gold’s day was highlighted by plenty of news, including about the future of the franchise and the departure of a longtime fan favorite.
Below is a summary of the event:
“The Current is Shifting”
Rob Pelinka gave off a confident vibe as he prepares for his first offseason as general manager of the Lakers.
The success of the first major step won’t be up to Pelinka or his partner, President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson, as the Lakers will have to wait till the draft lottery on May 16 until they know if they keep their first-round draft pick, which is top-three protected.
However, they can control what happens after that night, and Pelinka said that the Lakers have plans set for both scenarios.
Pelinka is also certain that the “current is shifting” for the Lakers in terms of free agents. He was unsure of when a marquee star will choose to come to L.A., but he said that he sees more interest in the Lakers’ situation.
For the organization as a whole, Pelinka plans to hold players and staff to a higher standard, saying that “the Lakers stand for excellence,” and that he has already seen that desire to be great from a handful of the young players.
Thanks for World Peace
The day began with some major news, as Metta World Peace was the first one to have his exit interview. He quickly relayed the news that Johnson had told him he probably wouldn’t be retained for next season.
World Peace, who was a longshot to make the team these past two years, said that he was happy with his career with the Lakers, particularly his relationship with the fans, saying, “Obviously they love their Lakers, and I had the chance to experience that. It was great.”
Brandon Ingram could soon have a franchise legend as a mentor, as Pelinka and Johnson suggested that he reach out to Kobe Bryant to schedule some offseason workouts.
Bryant — who scored 60 points in his final game exactly one year before exit interviews — reached out to Ingram over text earlier in the season. Ingram was so surprised that he initially didn’t think that it was Bryant himself.
Pelinka, who was Bryant’s former agent, also said that the 18-time All-Star would be open to working with the Lakers’ other young players.
Summer of Swag
Nick Young began his interview in his own Swaggy way, joking that the Lakers had signed him to a $150 million, lifetime deal.
In reality, Young does have a decision to make, as he can opt out of his contract due to a player option. The 31-year-old would not say which way he was leaning. He did admit to wanting to compete on a playoff team, but also claimed that it would be tough for him to leave his native Los Angeles.
No spot in the starting lineup will be guaranteed for next year, according to head coach Luke Walton. There will certainly be competition for the center spot, as Timofey Mozgov and Ivica Zubac both expressed their desire to start.
However, both are more concerned with the overall success of the team, as Zubac said, “Whoever can help the team win is going to be the guy who’s going to start.”