All the key guys will be back next season. Mark it down. Winning will make it happen.
Whenever the Lakers win this 2009 title – Game 5, 6 or 7, take your choice -- they will go into the summer prepared to start talking about a repeat.
Free agency doesn't scare them. Not when you're one of the richest franchises in the league, determined to keep this title run going. Not when they saw what happened to the Celtics, who let role-playing James Poset leave in free agency after they won a championship, only to regret his absence all season.
Forwards Lamar Odom and Trevor Ariza are both free agents, but neither is expected to command huge money, actually costing the Lakers no more combined next year than they did this year.
Despite some speculation to the contrary, the Lakers are not looking at an either/or signing.
"I don't think that's the case at all,'' said Jackson. "That's not set in stone, that there will have to be a decision made between those two. Players will have decisions to make in free agency.''
Odom, the highest-paid sixth man in the league at $12 million, already has said he expects to take a significant pay cut to get a new multi-year deal. Ariza, who made just $3.1 million this season, may reach the $5.8 million mid-level range. Ariza essentially will get what they take away from Odom, and everyone will be happy.