Well, as of June 6, only eight spots are locked in, barring any unforeseen trades.
Wearing Purple and Gold (8):
- Kobe Bryant
- Pau Gasol
- Andrew Bynum
- Lamar Odom
- Ron Artest
- Derek Fisher
- Luke Walton
- Steve Blake
Details: All eight players, including the starting lineup and Sixth Man of the Year Odom, are on guaranteed contracts at least through the 2011-12 season.
The rest of the roster, however, is yet to be officially determined.
Player Options on 2011-12 contract (2):
- Matt Barnes
- Shannon Brown
Details: Last Tuesday, Barnes said he’s definitely going to pick up the option on his contract and stay in L.A. GM Mitch Kupchak told us on Thursday that he’s “been led to believe” that Barnes will do so, but that teams “don’t know in this business until it’s done.” Barnes has until the end of June to sign his contract. Brown has yet to reveal his plans regarding his option, which Kupchak said could affect how the Lakers approach the draft, in terms of trying to secure more guard help in the case that Brown leaves.
Non-Guaranteed Contracts (2):
- Devin Ebanks
- Derrick Caracter
Details: Both 2010 second round picks are on non-guaranteed contracts (there are no NBA parameters for second round picks, so each deal is worked out individually with the team), meaning neither player is ensured a roster spot unless they’ve not been released before all contracts become guaranteed in January. But it sounds like they’ll have a good chance: “You probably want to bring (Ebanks and Caracter) to training camp and take a good look at them,” said Kupchak. “They’re both good players, so they’d probably survive camp.”
Contract Expiring (2):
- Joe Smith
- Trey Johnson
Details: Both players were signed late in the season and guaranteed through the playoffs to shore up the roster, but their respective contracts did not go further. Kupchak said he believes that Smith wants to play at least another year, but that it’s “not a decision we’ll make now.” Johnson did spend the 2010 training camp with the Lakers.
Likely Retiring (1):
- Theo Ratliff
Details: Ratliff was not present at the team’s exit interviews and accordingly did not speak to reporters, but Kupchak said he expects Ratliff — who was on a one-year deal — to retire.
In conclusion, if both Barnes and Brown pick up their options, the Lakers will have five available roster spots, with Ebanks and Caracter getting a head start towards claiming two of the positions on potential second round picks from this season. Kupchak and his staff currently have four second round selections, with which they could do multiple things: keep all four picks and select players to compete for roster spots; take a European prospect or two and keep him in Europe; trade one or more of the picks; fill slots through free agency.
We’ll have to wait and see what happens during the June 23 draft.