With rumors flying in hot and fast, ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne dropped a handful of names the Lakers were interested in with shooting and defense the main priorities.
Lakers priorities in free agency were shooting & rim protection. Among names I’ve heard interest in: Ryan Anderson, Parsons, Batum, Bazemore, Tyler Zeller
A handful of the names had been reported earlier in the day with their interest in Chandler Parson being mutual and having also already landed a phone call with Nicolas Batum. The Lakers’ interest in Ryan Anderson has also been reported in recent days as well.
Bismack Biyombo and Kent Bazemore, meanwhile, represent a pair of suspected targets but this is the first the Lakers have been linked to either.
Bazemore’s history with the Lakers is well known as Los Angeles held his rights following a trade of Steve Blake during the 2013-14 season. However, after failing to tender a qualifying offer, the Lakers watched Bazemore sign with Atlanta, where he flourished, especially last season.
Bazemore is coming off a career year, having averaged 11.6 points and 5.1 rebounds while shooting 35.7% from three-point territory. Add in his success on defense and his age (26) and the Lakers are a near perfect match.
However, he will likely come at a price as Bazemore is expected to command an annual deal in the neighborhood of $20 million.
Biyombo, meanwhile, is another playing coming off a hot stretch, having shined bright in the playoffs with the Raptors. The Lakers’ interest in him was backed up by another ESPN writer in Mike Mazzeo, who covers the Brooklyn Nets.
Have heard Biyombo connected to LA as a rim protection possibility https://t.co/fDGStTfFX9
— Mike Mazzeo (@MazzESPN) July 1, 2016
Biyombo averaged 5.5 points, 8.0 rebounds and 1.6 blocks in 22 minutes per game across 82 games in the regular season, but lit up in the playoffs after stepping into the starting line-up following Jonas Valanciunas’ injury.
The former seventh overall pick had his best performance against Cleveland in the Eastern Conference Finals, pulling down 26 rebounds to go along with four blocks and seven points in a 15-point win in game three.
Without a true center on the roster, the Lakers will likely make a move for a big man in the coming days or weeks and Biyombo could be that guy. At just 23 years old, he fits the timeline of the current Lakers while bringing five years of NBA experience with him.