Last season, by just about any measure, was a disappointment for Los Angeles Lakers fans. In the aftermath of Dwight Howard taking off for the Rockets, Kobe Bryant played just six games after suffering a knee injury and the Lakers finished 27-55, missing the playoffs for the first time in nine seasons and posting the most losses in franchise history. In the offseason, Los Angeles let go of Pau Gasol, Chris Kaman, and Jordan Farmar, but drafted Kentucky standout Julius Randle with the seventh-overall pick before acquiring veterans Carlos Boozer and Jeremy Lin.
The new-look Lakers will be led by a new head coach, Byron Scott, after Mike D’Antoni resigned in April. As Los Angeles embarks on a return to powerhouse status, here is a breakdown of the five most-expensive home games this season with ticket data provided by BarrysTickets.com.
10/28 Houston Rockets at Los Angeles Lakers: Average Price: $318.57 | Get-in Price: $51
The fifth-most expensive game will feature former Laker big-man Dwight Howard and superstar James Harden. Last season, the Rockets went 54-28 before falling to the Trail Blazers in the first round of the playoffs. In the offseason, Houston added Trevor Ariza and drafted Swiss forward Clint Capella, but lost Chandler Parsons, Omer Asik, and current Laker, Jeremy Lin. The Rockets are undoubtedly disappointed after losing in the first round of the playoffs for the third straight season, and Dwight Howard will certainly have a chip on his shoulder when the Rockets visit Los Angeles in October.
1/15 Cleveland Cavaliers at Los Angeles Lakers: Average Price: $506.93 | Get-in Price: $89
It should come as no surprise that Lebron coming to town will represent the most expensive game on the Lakers schedule. The Cavaliers went 33-49 last season, failing to qualify for the playoffs for the fourth straight season after King James ran to Miami. A heavenly offseason for Cleveland saw the return of Lebron, then a trade for big-man sharpshooter Kevin Love. The deal sent first-overall draft pick Andrew Wiggins to Minnesota along with Anthony Bennett, but Cavaliers fans are certainly not complaining. Cleveland is the preseason front-runner to win the championship, and the January matchup should be an exciting one
1/29 Chicago Bulls at Los Angeles Lakers: Average Price: $324.46 | Get-in Price: $54
The January clash with the Bulls will represent the third-most expensive game in Los Angeles. The Bulls went 48-34 last season before losing to the Wizards in the first round of the playoffs. Chicago added former Laker big-man Pau Gasol and drafted reigning Naismith College Player of of the Year Doug McDermott out of Creighton, and eagerly awaits the return of superstar Derrick Rose, who has missed nearly all of the past two seasons. A star-studded Bulls team should attract a strong crowd when it travels to Los Angeles in the winter.
3/1 Oklahoma City Thunder at Los Angeles Lakers: Average Price: $322.01 | Get-in Price: $57
The fourth-most expensive game on the Lakers schedule will feature superstar Russell Westbrook and reigning Most Valuable Player Kevin Durant. The Thunder went 59-23 last season before a defeat by the eventual-champion Spurs in the Western Conference Finals. In the offseason, Oklahoma City drafted big-man Mitch McGary from Michigan but lost lockdown-defender Thabo Sefolosha and veteran Derek Fisher, who is currently the head coach of the Knicks. The Thunder return one the most high-powered offenses in the league, and fans at the March showdown with the Lakers should be in for a treat.
4/5 Los Angeles Clippers at Los Angeles Lakers: Average Price: $352.20 | Get-in Price: $60
In a not-so-shocking development, the April clash between the two Los Angeles teams is the second-most expensive game this season. The Clippers went 57-25 last season before falling to the Thunder in the Western Conference Semi-Finals. Last year, they pummeled the Lakers lost 142-94 at the Staples center. The 48-point margin was the most lopsided defeat in Lakers history. The Clippers drafted guard C.J. Wilcox out of the University of Washington, but lost Darren Collison and Danny Granger. Still, the Lakers will be out for revenge, and this late-season meeting should be a thriller.