July 1 is finally here, which means NBA teams can start negotiating deals with players that are on the free agent market. Deals have already been made as teams are active right from the start.
The Los Angeles Lakers, however, have made their intentions abundantly clear for the 2017 NBA free agency period: preserve salary cap space for the summer of 2018.
The Lakers have their eyes on the marquee free agents that will be on the market next summer, such as Paul George and LeBron James, but they still have at least one roster spot to fill. According to multiple ESPN reports, the team still reached out to a few potential targets on Friday night.
The Lakers spoke with free agents Andre Iguodala and Rajon Rondo tonight, league sources tell @espn.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 1, 2017
Iguodala is garnering plenty of interest on the open market as teams hope to pry away the 2015 NBA Finals MVP from the defending champion Golden State Warriors. He has plenty of history with Lakers head coach Luke Walton (former college teammate and assistant coach) and general manager Rob Pelinka (former agent), but it would appear unlikely that Iguodala would accept a one-year deal from the Lakers when he can make more long-term money elsewhere.
The Lakers have openly stated they want to add shooting and defense in free agency, which makes the Rondo news very surprising. Rondo has been a poor perimeter shooter throughout his career and his defense has fallen off as he has aged, but backup point guard is arguably the Lakers’ biggest roster need at the moment.
ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne also reports that Los Angeles reached out to former Sacramento Kings guard Ben McLemore. McLemore has struggled to find his way early in his career, experiencing a turbulent four seasons thus far in the NBA. But he is still just 24 years old and could be the type of reclamation project that the Lakers could get on a reasonable contract on a one-year, “prove it” type of deal. McLemore shot 38.2 percent from three last season and his athleticism could be a solid asset to a Lakers team that will look to push tempo early and often next season with Lonzo Ball running the show now.
Just hours into free agency, the Lakers have been relatively quiet, but it looks like they are still sorting through potential options that could help solidify their perimeter attack.