As we collectively euro-step around the backlash and faux uproar over what was a truly unfortunate ending to LeBron James’ Game 1, other teams are also actively working on pre-draft evaluations while continuing to position themselves for the free agency period.

Although the Finals are just beginning, dozens of young men will have their dreams fulfilled in less than 20 days as the Barclays Center will host the annual NBA Draft on June 26; that means free agents can begin negotiating with teams in just over three weeks. The Lakers are expected to be one of the league’s more active front offices this summer, as the team has the most needs of any roster currently on the mend.

When Kobe Bryant isn’t conveniently (and wisely) using the “Cramp-Gate” platform to remind everyone of his latest venture with Body Armor Super Drink, he’s been actively rehabbing for what is actually his second consecutive summer. If Bryant’s body will permit, it can be expected as a certainty that he’ll return with a chip on his shoulder, but he’s going to have to rely upon the front office to provide the support he needs all while aggressively implementing the “life after Kobe” plan.

Whether that plan involves packaging what little assets they have in the hopes of either trading for established talent (possible, but far from a lock) or moving up in the draft (even less likely), the Lakers have options that could both make them a competitive team over the next couple years with Bryant while adding pieces that would make them more attractive for future free agents and maintaining future cap flexibility. GM Mitch Kupchak referenced the potential for a team to purchase late-first and second round picks as a means to improve a roster when he addressed the media after a pre-draft workout session, but offered little insight into which direction the organization may be leaning.

Luol Deng may be one of the more coveted free-agents-to-be, but the market and what Deng is actually looking for could dictate just how realistic of an option he is for the Lakers. Having reportedly turned down the three-year, $30 million deal from the Bulls while still a member, Deng may be able to convince a team he’s worthy of a much larger deal than the Lakers should even consider offering him. Not that Deng’s defensive prowess and ability to apply pressure along the perimeter as well as in help situations shouldn’t be attractive to a team sorely lacking any semblance of a defensive identity, but even paying Deng the amount he’s allegedly turned down in the past wouldn’t be conducive to putting together a championship roster over the next few seasons.

Lance Stephenson, Gordon Hayward and Eric Bledsoe are probably either going to re-sign with their respective teams, or have the realistic potential to price themselves out of the Lakers’ spending market altogether. If you can find a way to land one of them a price you’re comfortable with, of course you’d leap at the opportunity. Each of them are tremendous, young talents with high ceilings, but would likely require larger four-year deals that might limit your future freedom as well.

Unless they are able to maneuver into acquiring established talent such as Kevin Love or another young player like Kyrie Irving, the Lakers have to find a way to convince two contributing players to split about $14-17 million per year for the next couple seasons. You never want to completely dismiss the possibility or an unforeseen “home run” trade given this franchise’s history of doing exactly that, but (as things tend to go with Kupchak and the Lakers) several contingency plans are likely in place. In keeping with the baseball analogy, there’s also nothing wrong with manufacturing success by stringing together a few timely ‘base hits’ and ‘doubles’ when it comes to approaching free agency.

Not only would bringing in multiple contributors offer Bryant a chance to compete, but you’d also preserve the opportunity to offer a max contract to say a Kevin Durant or LeBron James, both of whom could conceivably be unrestricted free agents at that point. James could elect to opt-out during the two free agency periods prior to then, but Durant won’t be free to reassess his surroundings until the summer of ‘16. In the meantime, there are several names the Lakers could target with a plan of that nature in mind.

Fans of the Purple and Gold may remember the circumstances surrounding Trevor Ariza’s exit from Los Angeles following the first of the Bryant and Pau Gasol-led championship runs in 2009, but he is a player the team should once again pursue as an unrestricted free agent this summer. At 28-years-old, the former Bruin is still an above average perimeter defender and has developed into one of the deadlier three-point shooters in the league. Improving over each of the past four seasons, Ariza actually shot a career-high 40.7 percent from beyond the arc (5.7 attempts per night) and played in 77 games for the Wizards.