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3 Lakers players not expected to be back next season?

By Darryn Albert,


Nov 30, 2022; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Lakers coach Darvin Ham at a press conference during the game against the Portland Trail Blazers at Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

With only so much money available this offseason, three current Lakers may find themselves on the outside looking in.

In a mailbag article on Friday , Lakers beat writer Jovan Buha wrote that “two players it’s appearing won’t be back” are center Mo Bamba and wing Malik Beasley. Buha notes that Bamba has a non-guaranteed $10.3 million for next season while Beasley has a $16.5 million team option. Retaining both guys at those figures would be a virtual non-starter for the Lakers, particularly since the team can easily get out of those deals for nothing.

Buha also says that he “suspect[s]” a third Laker, guard Lonnie Walker IV, will not return next season since he can get a bigger role elsewhere having had a strong performance in this year’s playoffs. Walker is an unrestricted free agent after signing a one-year deal with the Lakers last summer.

The Lakers might not necessarily miss any of those guys. Bamba made only 12 total appearances for them (having missed extended time with an ankle injury), Beasley was a seldom-used role player, and even Walker was out of the rotation before coming up big when he was dusted off in the postseason.

More pressing for the purple and gold are the respective free agencies of Austin Reaves and Rui Hachimura (restricted) as well as of D’Angelo Russell and Dennis Schroder (unrestricted). The Lakers sound willing to shatter the bank for one of those players but may be drawing a line in the financial sand when it comes to the others (even if they would ideally like to keep all four).

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