After a season plagued with injury and misery, the Los Angeles Lakers will finally embark on their mission to rebuild the franchise this off-season.
As of now, the only players on the Lakers’ roster are Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash and Robert Sacre. Los Angeles will also likely sign Julius Randle, their first round pick in the most recent draft. Every other spot on their roster remains to be filled.
It is clear the Lakers’ first goal is to convince either Carmelo Anthony or LeBron James to dawn purple and gold next season. The Lakers have the cap room to offer one maximum contract, so signing both Anthony and James may be impossible.
However, the fact that the Lakers play in a tough Western Conference may keep Anthony and James from moving west. Not only would they play against an experienced Spurs team, but also against young, talented teams, such as the Oklahoma City Thunder, who continue to improve each year. The Lakers would have to convince Anthony or James to leave the Eastern Conference, where it is much easier to win.
As of now, the Lakers also do not have a coach. Without a coach, the Lakers’ chances of signing Carmelo or LeBron only grow weaker.
Other than trying to sign the two super stars, the Lakers have expressed interest in a number of talented free agents who would make excellent pieces to a team.
First, the Lakers contacted the agent of their long-time big man Pau Gasol. However, Gasol’s services may be in high demand from multiple teams. The Spaniard wants to go somewhere he can win right now. He may not have much faith in the Lakers after last season and his career is nearing its end.
Further, the Lakers also contacted Luol Deng, Kyle Lowry and Trevor Ariza. Ariza was a member of the Lakers when they won the championship in 2009. All three are unrestricted free agents this summer and can sign with the Lakers at any time.
Los Angeles is rumored to have reached out to three restricted free agents as well. They are Chandler Parsons from the Houston Rockets, Gordon Hayward from Utah Jazz and Isaiah Thomas from the Sacramento Kings. Because each player is a restricted free agent, the teams they played for last season have the opportunity to match any offer made by the Lakers.
Lastly, the Lakers have contacted approximately half of the players from their 2013-2014 roster, including Nick Young and Jodie Meeks. However, Meeks has already reached an agreement with the Detroit Pistons.
In reality, it seems as though the Lakers will contact just about every player available. Luckily, the Lakers’ legacy will always be an advantage in convincing players to come to Los Angeles. However, it will still be interesting to see who will find a new home with the Lakers.