Lakers season-ticket renewals will be due before NBA draft lottery

Lakers season-ticket holders will have to decide whether to renew before the NBA draft lottery

As the 2014-15 season stumbles to a conclusion, the Lakers are readying their season-ticket holders for next year's campaign.

That's right, it's time for annual renewals.

The big question facing those holding Lakers season tickets is whether they should choose to shell out thousands of dollars to keep their seats after two straight disastrous seasons.

A major piece of the puzzle will be decided May 19, when the NBA holds their annual draft lottery.

The catch for season-ticket holders — they won't know the results of the lottery when they sign off on another season. The Lakers set the deadline to renew on May 18, exactly one day ahead of the lottery.

Ticket prices did not increase, an apparent acknowledgment of the team's recent struggles.

The Lakers (20-58) probably will finish with the NBA's fourth-worst record, giving the franchise nearly an 83% chance of staying within the top five in the draft. If the Lakers drop to six or lower, their pick goes to the Philadelphia 76ers, to close out the Steve Nash trade with Phoenix.

A player such as Duke's Jahlil Okafor or Justise Winslow, Kentucky's Karl-Anthony Towns or Willie Cauley-Stein, or Ohio State's D'Angelo Russell could be the prize for the Lakers — if the lottery balls prove favorable.

If not, the franchise will have to hope it has a better free-agent summer than a year ago. The Lakers project to have enough salary-cap space to lure a high-priced free agent in July.

"As the season nears its end and we begin preparing for next year, we are encouraged by the development of our talented young players and the leadership of Coach Byron Scott," reads the cover letter to season-ticket holders, signed by Tim Harris, the team's senior vice president of business operations and chief operating officer. "Our goal for the future remains the same, to deliver you a championship caliber team every season. That mission will never change and we hope you continue to join us on this journey."

Blue-chip rookie or no, some fans will be happy to renew just to see Kobe Bryant's likely swan song.

Marketing to just that, the Lakers have their All-Star adorning the outside and inside covers of the renewal folder, with images labeled 1996, 2002, 2006 and 2015. The first three show Bryant in his No. 8 jersey, in the years he came in as a rookie, won his third championship and scored 81 points, respectively. The back cover shows Bryant in his current No. 24. He is under contract for one more season and $25 million. He will turn 37 in August and begin his 20th NBA season in October, assuming the torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder has healed.

Bryant has missed most of the last two seasons with shoulder, knee and Achilles' injuries. Lakers fans have sat through two straight campaigns with win counts below 28.

Harris thanked the season-ticket holders for their "support throughout the season. The commitment from our most loyal fans has always been the cornerstone for our success."

eric.pincus@gmail.com

Twitter: @EricPincus

Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times
47°