The Los Angeles Lakers are expected to make significant moves in free agency this summer, but which players can they realistically acquire?
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While the likes of Jimmy Butler and Kawhi Leonard are restricted free agents, the pair will most likely re-sign with the Chicago Bulls and San Antonio Spurs respectively and so are not involved in the conversation.
Elsewhere, Memphis Grizzlies star Marc Gasol has ruled out the New York Knicks, but he hasn’t closed the door on a switch to LA yet despite the likelihood that he will continue at the ‘Grindhouse’ next season.
So in terms of realistic options, the search should start in Dallas with point guard Rajon Rondo. It is no secret that Kobe Bryant wanted him to join him at the Staples Center earlier this year, but with the Mavericks offering an immediate chance of a championship, it failed to materialise.
Bryant has since insisted that he isn’t done recruiting the former Celtics star, and so he will likely be top of the priority list for the Lakers in the off-season.
With Jordan Clarkson showing promising signs, he could be an ideal young back-up for Rondo with the Lakers needing a point guard that can run the show and facilitate.
Goran Dragic had been on the radar too, but he chose the Miami Heat ahead of the trade deadline last month. Similarly, a move to La La Land this summer is still an option, but if the Slovenian ace enjoys success with Dwyane Wade and Co. it is difficult seeing him move on.
As a result, if the Lakers fail in acquiring Rondo, Brandon Knight could be another target as he showed in Milwaukee that he is on the cusp of becoming an All-Star guard.
The Lakers have to be careful in that they have Julius Randle coming back next year, and the first-round Draft pick needs to be given the room and opportunity to play solid minutes.
However, the team needs quality on both ends of the floor in their front-court, and three names spring out from the free agency list.
Although the Cleveland Cavaliers look set for a championship run, Kevin Love hasn’t had the kind of impact that he would have hoped for.
Both fitness and form have been issues, but ultimately all is not well for the former Minnesota Timberwolves star. Winning certainly helps, but as with Chris Bosh in Miami, even if the Cavs don’t go all the way this year, Love may opt to sign in and go again.
A move to LA would ensure he gets paid and has the chance to get touches of the ball in the post rather than being used almost solely as a stretch-four. However, there is a lot that needs to happen for him to decide he wants to return home.
LaMarcus Aldridge is another free agent possibility, but given the success he has had in Portland, it is difficult to see him wanting to leave the Trail Blazers. As a result, a back-up option is Detroit Pistons star Greg Monroe who could be an ideal addition to the roster.
The Lakers have significant cap space this summer and general manager Mitch Kupchak has previously suggested that they could sign two players on max deals. Rondo and Love could be the ideal duo, but they will need to sell it well with Kobe set to bid farewell to the NBA after next year.