The Los Angeles Lakers entered free agency with the most cap space in the league, and they had their sights set on landing one of the top prospects available. Instead, they struck out on all of them, leaving them without the big splash they were hoping for - but they did get better through other signings. Here are three things we learned about them in free agency.
3) Los Angeles alone won't bring free agents to the Lakers
Throughout most of their existence, the Lakers have used the lure of Hollywood and endorsement deals as the means to attract the top stars, but that is no longer the case. They've been spurned the past few years by all the top names, and this year was no exception. Kevin Durant didn't even give them a meeting. Hassan Whiteside barely considered them - even players like Chandler Parsons opted to sign elsewhere.
All of them did so to join contenders - just like LaMarcus Aldridge and Greg Monroe last year. Only one thing will put the Lakers back in the mix for top free agents, and that's winning.
2) They're convinced they have a superstar on this team
To LA's credit, they didn't panic when they missed out on a star. They didn't reach for anyone and they didn't mortgage their future to get someone. Instead, they smartly used their cap money to sign quality complementary pieces.
Mozgov is an excellent rim protector who simply didn't get a chance in Cleveland last year, and while his four-year, $64 million deal seems like a lot, it's a very smart contract with the salary cap going up. Same goes for Luol Deng, who will also provide the Lakers with a needed veteran presence. Then, of course, re-signing Jordan Clarkson was a must.
The Lakers have put themselves in the smart position to get exponentially better as guys like D'Angelo Russell, Brandon Ingram and Julius Randle develop. These free agency moves ensure that those three guys won't be held back by their roster (a la DeMarcus Cousins in Sacramento).
1) Don't count out a mid-season trade
All that being said, the Lakers could be willing to give up one (or two) of their core pieces to land that superstar they've been craving. The rising salary cap will give them plenty of cap space again next season, and if they can acquire a superstar mid-season, they would be more likely to add another one in 2017 free agency.
Russell Westbrook or Jimmy Butler seems like the most likely candidates for such a trade, and one the Lakers will still pursue.Back to the Los Angeles Lakers Newsfeed