The Lakers appear to have missed out on the LaMarcus Aldridge sweepstakes and will likely receive the same news from the DeAndre Jordan camp. Although many Lakers fans have rushed to panic and lost faith in the organization’s ability to attain top free agents, I would say it is more of an overreaction.
Tobias Harris is still an option and would likely require overpaying for him, but he is a solid, young player that the Lakers should make a run for. Also, bringing back Ed Davis could be a backup plan. The chances of signing Davis all depend on what offers he gets from other teams, but if it is in the 3 year/$21 million range, it would be something to consider. That being said, throughout the season and up until present day, I never viewed this free agency class as very strong. The Lakers need to focus on signing a few of the second and third tier free agents this summer. Missing out on Aldridge and Jordan was inevitable and quite honestly, not a big deal to me. However, if the Lakers strike out in 2016 free agency, then that could provide cause for concern.
As of right now, next year’s unrestricted free agents could include Kevin Durant, Al Horford, Al Jefferson, Joakim Noah, Hassan Whiteside, Brandon Jennings, Timofey Mozgov, Luol Deng, and Steve Novak. There are a ton of more options available and some of these names are definitely more enticing than others, but there’s definitely a large amount of talent out there that could fit the Lakers system.
Unless they sign extensions with their respective teams during the season, you can almost be certain that the Lakers will make their pitches from Kevin Durant and Al Horford this time next summer. Are they the frontrunners to land either? Definitely not. However, if the Lakers’ young core of D’Angelo Russell, Julius Randle, and Jordan Clarkson display their potential and show that they could be pieces of a championship team down the road, unrestricted free agents may find that appealing.
One of the main reasons as to why LaMarcus Aldridge did not want to come play for the Lakers was possibly due to the team being in a rebuilding stage. He is going to turn 30 later this month and probably did not want to be apart of a team that is a few years away from contending for a championship. Al Horford will enter free agency at 31, so he may have the same concerns if the Lakers do not show substantial growth this season.
Many will label this summer as a failure due to the Lakers not persuading a top free agent to sign with them, but I think it is still a tremendous success. Drafting D’Angelo Russell, Larry Nance Jr., and Anthony Brown to play along side Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson should single-handedly have Lakers fans excited for the future. In May of last year, the Lakers’ lacked any encouraging young talent and just over a year later, they have potential stardom in Russell, Randle, and an All-NBA rookie team member in Clarkson. Rebuilding is not something that is done overnight and although Lakers fans aren’t best known for patience, take a deep breath and relax. We’ll be back.