It appears the Lakers are not even on the list of teams Whiteside plans to meet with. Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reports that the center has only scheduled meetings with the Heat, Mavericks, and Blazers.
Original Post Follows:
The Lakers are coming off of a franchise-worst 17 win season, but things are looking up in Los Angeles. The team fired Byron Scott, hired Luke Walton, and selected Brandon Ingram second overall in last week’s draft. With free agency looming, the Lakers are setting their sights on center Hassan Whiteside, who would be one of their biggest free agent signings in the last decade. However, Whiteside isn’t too ‘focused’ on the Lakers prior to July 1st, per Adrian Wojnarowski of the Vertical.
Sources: As 12:01 AM nears, free agent Hassan Whiteside’s focus is centered on Miami and Dallas. Decision could come quickly on July 1.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) June 30, 2016
Whiteside is one of the best free agent options at center for the Lakers, but he has seemingly narrowed down his choices to two teams. The Miami Heat and the Dallas Mavericks are in what seems to be a two-horse race for Whiteside, who could’ve ruled the Lakers out based on this train of thought:
From what I’m told, Whiteside is leaning away from teams without stable organizations.
— Hardwood Paroxysm (@HPbasketball) June 29, 2016
The Lakers haven’t been in the playoffs since the 2012-2013 circus season, and have repeatedly swung and missed on big fish in free agency since then.
Despite the Lakers being on an upswing for the low point in the franchise’s history, they still have much to improve on in order to once again be major players in free agency.