• Joey Ramirez of Lakers.com writes that Luke Walton would like to surround his young players with some solid veteran presence going into next season.

    The Lakers have a ton of cap space, and while much of that will be spent chasing big names in a perfect world, there should be enough left over to spend on some end-of-bench guys to help guide teammates in their NBA infancy.

    Given the spotlight of Los Angeles and the propensity of young guys to make silly mistakes both on and off the court (D’Angelo Russell nods solemnly), adding a steady hand would be a good use of funds.

    While the Lakers might say otherwise, they’ll be hard pressed to seriously compete next season and maybe the year after that. A season spent developing their promising young talent outside of Kobe Bryant’s shadow would do the team well down the line, and grabbing a reliable veteran could go a long way to ensuring players like Russell, Julius Randle and Brandon Ingram cope with expectations appropriately.

    Additionally, having a veteran voice in the locker room could be a boon to rookie head coach Luke Walton. While Walton obviously had great success as an assistant and interim coach in Golden State, the Lakers head coaching gig is a whole different animal. Any additional voice that parrots his message will be incredibly valuable, especially if it’s coming from a peer that players truly respect.

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