Lakers Look to Rebound in 2014-15

StaplesCenter2014For the first time in recent memory, the Los Angeles Lakers were not relevant concerning the playoff picture as we approached the final months of the 2013-14 season.  Kobe Bryant missed the overwhelming majority of the season and Pau Gasol and Steve Nash, the two other players expected to take the Lakers back to the NBA Finals, were either hurt or ineffective.

But 2014-15 provides for a fresh start for the Lakers as they slowly morph into a team that is not dominated by Kobe Bryant.  Bryant is now 36 years old and has only so many games left. So there will be a much heavier emphasis this season on getting the younger players on the squad involved so the team can see what they are working with.  1st Round pick Julius Randle leads that pack, alongside free agent acquisition Jeremy Lin. Nash still remains with the team and Carlos Boozer was also added during the offseason to provide another veteran presence, but it’s clear there is a youth movement taking place in Los Angeles.

Below is a breakdown of the top five most in-demand Lakers home games at the Staples Center this season, based on the average price for Lakers tickets for each game on the secondary market.

January 15, 2015 vs. Cleveland Cavaliers | Average Ticket Price: $495

LeBron’s visit to the Staples Center is the most expensive game of the season on the Lakers schedule at an average price of $495 for Lakers vs. Cavaliers tickets.  Cleveland expects to be right in the thick of championship contention this season.  The Lakers may not be able to say the same as they enter the 2014-15 season, but they do have one of the greatest players of all-time in Kobe Bryant.  And when Bryant meets James on the court, you can always expect something special to happen.

December 19, 2014 vs. Oklahoma City Thunder | Average Ticket Price: $329

With recent news that Kevin Durant will be sidelined for a significant portion of the season, you can expect the average price of Lakers vs. Thunder tickets to fluctuate quite a bit.  Early prognostications claim Durant will be out 6-8 weeks, which puts his return right around this date.  If he misses the game, tickets will be significantly less than an average of $329, but if this is one of his first games back, expect prices to stay just as high.

October 28, 2014 vs. Houston Rockets | Average Ticket Price: $329

Dwight Howard’s return is just a dollar less expensive, on average, than when the Thunder visit in December.  And while Howard probably thinks the spike in price is due to his return, it is most likely because this is the home opener for Los Angeles this year.  While Dwight’s visit adds another level of intrigue, most Lakers fans will probably agree they’d rather never see or hear from Howard ever again, and certainly would not pay a premium to watch him at the Staples Center.

April 5, 2015 vs. Los Angeles Clippers | Average Ticket Price: $316

The Clippers have stolen some of the headlines from the Lakers over the past few years, some for good reasons (deep playoff runs the past two years). This April 5th meeting will be one of the highlights of the end of the year and a potential playoff preview if the Lakers can sneak into the postseason this year.  At an average price of $316, Lakers vs. Clippers tickets are certainly not a bargain, but may be one of the better values on this list.

January 29, 2015 vs. Chicago Bulls | Average Ticket Price: $309

The Bulls, like the Lakers, have their own superstar recovering from injury.  Derrick Rose looked to be on the brink of superstardom a few years ago, and was getting lumped in together with the Durants of the world, but multiple injuries have set him back a few years.  Rose looks primed for a big return this year, however, and the Bulls are hoping he will spark a deep postseason run in 2014-15.