5 Lakers Playing Their Final Season in L.A.

There are a few key Lakers who will likely not make it back for next season.

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
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Taurean Prince

The 29-year-old forward was a one-year depth addition last offseason for the Lakers. The expectations weren't particularly high from the journeyman wing. Yet, Prince has performed admirably, starting in 47 games for the Lakers and playing over 30 minutes per game.

Prince is not the type of player to change the fate of a franchise. He is more of a veteran placeholder who doesn't make many mistakes. His role is also larger now than it should be on a good team. Yet, the fact that he is shooting well (38.6% from three) and playing solid defense might have pushed him out of the Lakers' price range.

Prince was on a one-year, $4.5 million deal this season. As he is entering the final stretch of his career, he will likely prioritize a multi-year deal for his next contract. This means that he played himself out of a contract with Los Angeles. And that is a good thing for the Lakers as they need an upgrade on the wing anyway.

As good as Prince has been this season, it's hard to win a championship if he is your starting small forward. A higher-caliber starter is needed who can defend bigger wings and create more shots for himself and others.