It looks like one of the top free agent targets might not make the Lakers wait on an answer this summer.
With a massive hole at center to address this offseason, the team is reportedly going after Hassan Whiteside with everything they have once free agency begins. After being back and forth from the D-League and overseas, this will be Whiteside’s first time as a highly coveted free agent as he is going to have numerous teams lining up for his services. During the time the big man was looking for an NBA roster he was actually worked out by the Lakers before they ultimately passed on him.
With a massive amount of cap space the Lakers could and should be willing to offer Whiteside a max contract if they have any realistic ambitions about signing the 27-year-old.
In an interview with Ethan J. Skolnick of the Miami Herald, the big man gave an update on how he wants to handle his free agency which starts July 1st.
The good news here is that Whiteside seems uninterested in letting teams hang around for his services and wants to make a decision quickly. The Heat will reportedly try to retain Whiteside for less than the max, at least initially. So if the deciding factor comes down to whether the Heat will give him the money he wants, and they choose not to, the Lakers could swoop in and try to land a top target of theirs this summer.
Whiteside also did not offer much comfort to the Heat when asked about staying even if the money is there.
With the Lakers focused on the center position, expect them to make a massive push to pair him alongside Julius Randle in the front court as a defensive anchor and add another piece to the talented young core.
For a list of free agents the Lakers could pursue this summer, click here.