Free agency always gets hyped up, and one of my issues with that is commentators usually have no idea who is available in the free agent market. Of course, everyone knows Kevin Durant and Hassan Whiteside will be free-agents, but it usually stops there. Given that only 7 of the top 31 free agents (as ranked by SBNation) switched jersey’s last summer (and actually two of those guys became Lakers!), it’s my view that free agency gets way too much attention because fans and even analysts generally have no idea who is available. By breaking down the supply of free agents, one can reasonably project which guys are attainable and which are a pipe dream.
Below, I’ve created a list of free agents, with the emphasis based around a Lakers-centric view. What that means is, I’m not listing guys who are looking to be starting point guards or power forwards – unless they are malleable and able to play a different role around the Lakers’ core. So for example, listing Jeremy Lin would not make sense since he’s probably looking for a ton of playing time and doesn’t really fit with the core. Mike Conley on the other hand, while still a PG, can play alongside Russell or Clarkson. Ryan Anderson should not be considered at all since he cannot play any other positions and would require a ton of money, while a guy like Lance Thomas would cost a reasonable amount and can be molded around the core as a backup SF/PF.
Essentially, a free agent has to “fit” one way or another: Fill the holes on the wing, be able to play center, become a backup point guard and/or one that can play alongside Russell/Clarkson, or have some type of age benefit (IE- Older ‘rental’ veterans to help guide this young team, or another young talent).
I also did not list unrealistic targets like LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Dwight Howard, or Andre Drummond – for obvious reasons.
Some notes: A player with an asterisk next to their name is restricted, while a player in italics has a player or team option. The names are roughly listed by the order of how much sense they make to the Lakers. And lastly, yes, I know some guys can be listed at other positions, but for symmetry sakes, I moved a few guys into different columns.
(Click the image to enlarge it!)