The NBA free agency period began just over 24 hours ago, but it has already been a rough go for the Los Angeles Lakers.
The team was unable to land meetings with some of the top free agents such as Kevin Durant and Hassan Whiteside, then followed it up with a seemingly panicked move of offering and agreeing to a four-year, $64 million deal with Timofey Mozgov, a move that many consider to be the worst in free agency thus far.
Luckily, the Lakers were able to redeem themselves a little bit by agreeing to a four-year, $50 million deal with Jordan Clarkson just a few hours later. Clarkson was not expected to leave Los Angeles, but compared to some of the massive contracts being thrown out, his signing looks like an absolute steal.
The Lakers weren’t done looking for options at the two or the three, though. Kent Bazemore turned down a four-year, $72 million deal from Los Angeles to return to the Atlanta Hawks, so now the Lakers may have turned their attention to restricted free agent, Moe Harkless.
According to the Los Angeles Times’ Mike Bresnahan, the Lakers have a chance to pry him away from the Portland Trail Blazers.
The Lakers have more than $30 million left to spend toward next season’s payroll. They are still seeking a small forward and could be “in the mix” for Maurice Harkless, according to a person familiar with his thinking.
Harkless recently turned 23 years old, so there could be some upside there. In 2015-16, Harkless averaged 6.4 points and 3.6 rebounds per game for Portland in just 18.7 minutes.
Ideally, the Lakers would like to add a far more consistent three-point shooter out on the wing, but Harkless could bring a defensive presence out on the perimeter that the team certainly needs.
There are still some solid options available in free agency, although some big names are off the board already. The key for the Lakers after the Mozgov deal is to spend wisely on the players they pursue, which could be difficult seeing as they might have to overpay to bring talent into their rebuilding situation.
All stats via Basketball-Reference.