The Los Angeles Lakers were an embarrassment last season. After major injuries to Julius Randle and Kobe Bryant, the roster was full of D-League talent and aging veterans. If you pay close attention to sports betting odds, the current outlook for next season doesn’t look great either.
The Lakers are not used to being in this position. They always just restock instead of doing a long-term rebuild. Kobe doesn’t have much time left, so he is certainly in management’s ear in hopes of winning one more title to tie Michael Jordan’s ring count.
They are now trying to free up enough cap space to make a run at some of this offseason’s top free agents. They gained $9 million more by declining Jordan Hill’s team option.
Which free agents are the Lakers targeting this Summer?
There’s been a lot of chatter regarding a possible DeMarcus Cousins trade to L.A., but the Kings don’t appear to be ready to move their biggest star. It will be an interesting couple weeks since Sports Illustrated still believes the talks are on-going. They could trade #2 overall pick D’Angelo Russell for Cousins. I will believe it when I see it. The Lakers need more than just Cousins to turn the team around.
The biggest offseason splash they could make is signing LaMarcus Aldridge. He already owns a home in Orange County and playing in a bigger market appeals to him (maybe he wants to appear on shows more popular than Portlandia). The Lakers and Rockets appear to be the top teams in the race to sign Aldridge.
If the Lakers sign Aldridge, trading for Cousins would make more sense. A ‘big three’ of Aldridge, Cousins and Kobe would be interesting. They would need to free up some more cap space to make it work.
Other free agents that could end up in Los Angeles are Kevin Love and Goran Dragic, but both could be long-shots. Love did opt-out in Cleveland, but looks like he could be headed back there once LeBron James makes it official that he’s coming back as well. As far as Dragic is concerned, Miami will make it their top priority to get him to stay there now that Dwayne Wade opted out.
The Lakers could gift Kobe a team capable of one more shot at a ring…but would cost them long-term if they trade young talent like Russell or Randle to make it happen.
Bobby Roberts (otherwise known as Sweetbob) is the creator of ‘America’s White Boy’ and contributor at Project Shanks. His writing has been featured on ESPN’s ‘SportsNation’, Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks, Guyspeed, and various other sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @Sweetbob.