Luke Walton knew his first head coaching gig included a daunting task and that included a lesson in losing. The Los Angeles Lakers improved a bit compared to the previous seasons, but the fact is there is more work to be done.

Walton used to winning with the Golden State Warriors the past years, is expected to mature together with his young group as they work in the NBA offseason. With more time to work on the ballclub, changes are expected moving forward. Would that include reeling in a franchise player via trade or the free agent market? Right now that is too early to tell.

Bright spots can only get bigger

Walton didn’t exactly do badly in his first year. They started out hot, jumping the gun on other teams before sputtering. By all indications, that is a sign of lack of maturity on their end since they do have a bumper crop of young players.

With most players except for Brandon Ingram experienced by at least three years by next season, the stakes are higher for Walton and the Lakers. D’Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson, Julius Randle and Larry Nance Jr. are expected to play with more maturity – assuming they are still Lakers before the 2017-18 NBA season starts.

There is a chance that some of them may be dealt with other teams via NBA trade. This may only crop up if the player/s involved making sense for the Lakers.

There are several big names mentioned as potential targets so expect the offseason to be pretty colorful.

Among the names, the Lakers could go after including Paul George, DeMarcus Cousins or Chris Paul. Carmelo Anthony could be a target as well. There are plenty of possibilities so expect a major shake-up from within.

Deng, Mozgov have to go

Before planning on who to take in, the Lakers need to clean up their finances. Their significant investment on Luol Deng and Timofey Mozgov were put to waste so it would be best to either waive them or trade them to interested teams. That could take some time especially if their last season is to be considered.

Whatever happens, Walton is staying active. He saw what the team is capable of and maturity was the thing that lacked the most. He drew praise for staying patient in his first year as head coach. The landscape changes next season with Walton expected to get tougher on his wards.

Walton’s likely first goal is to guide the Lakers achieve a winning record. From there, he could eye the NBA playoffs. As for an NBA title, it may take a couple of more years to aim that high.

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