The NBA offseason is officially here, although the Los Angeles Lakers have been focused on the offseason for several weeks now. The Lakers are flush with enough cap space to be in the mix for several of the bigger names this offseason. The Lakers will swing big, although they won't land every player they want.
We're disregarding the Lakers' own free agents (like Jordan Clarkson) and are instead focusing on players the Lakers could sign away from other teams. This isn't every player the Lakers will have at least some interest in, but it's the ones who should be near the top of their list. With that in mind, here are five free agents the Lakers will target this offseason.
5. Festus Ezeli
The Lakers lack a true center on the roster, and Ezeli would help fill that role just that. He's due for a big pay day as an unrestricted free agent. The Warriors might not be able to afford him, and the presence of Luke Walton in Los Angeles could help the Lakers land him. While there is risk because Ezeli has never had a real chance to start full-time at center and has a history of injuries, it's worth the risk. Still just 26 years old, he's younger than most of the options at the spot. The Lakers could even add him as the their No. 2 center and still add one of the bigger names on the market.
4. DeMar DeRozan
Before we get to far, I expect DeRozan to stay with the Raptors. He's in a good situation in Toronto and can make the most money by signing there. Still, the Lakers have been linked to the Southern California native for a reason. The Lakers will, and should, at least talk to DeRozan about playing in Los Angeles. While he's not an ideal fit the for the Lakers, he'd help improve the team. Still, don't expect DeRozan to leave the Raptors.
3. Al Horford
This is where we start getting to the big fish. Horford is likely to leave the Hawks, and the Lakers have the cap space to offer him a max deal. Adding the skilled Horford as one of the team's focal scoring options would be a big boost to the offense. Horford isn't quite the rim protector that other bigs are, but his scoring prowess more than makes up for it. The Lakers have already been linked to Horford, although he might not even be the top big man on their wish list.
2. Hassan Whiteside
While Horford is a nice get, Hassan Whiteside is going to be the top priority among big men. Still just 26 and improving everyday, the late-blooming Heat star offers some of the highest upside in the free-agent pool. While there's a chance he could go the way of a Dwight Howard, the strides he has taken this year help his chances. The Heat want him back, but might not give him a max deal. If that happens, the Lakers might become the new favorites to land Whiteside.
1. Kevin Durant
Argue the likelihood all you want, but the Lakers are going to make a run at Durant. They'd be foolish not to at least try. While the same is true of LeBron James, he's not going to leave Cleveland. That makes Durant the top target, although the odds are not in LA's favor. Lakers fans shouldn't get their hopes up about Durant, but the team will at least try.Back to the Los Angeles Lakers Newsfeed