Kupchak and the Lakers had every intention of competing this season, but
Bryant likely won't make it back before the end of the year, and the season for the 21-41 Lakers has become more about evaluating young players and placing high in the 2014
The Lakers have the fifth-worst record in the
The NBA draft lottery rewards ineptitude and though Kupchak and the Lakers never expected the season to hit such lows, they'll be hoping to land an impact player as a sort of restitution.
The draft pool could include Joel Embiid and
Kupchak will also have financial flexibility in pursuing free agents as the Lakers project to fall under the league salary cap in 2014, and possibly in 2015 and 2016.