As the Los Angeles Lakers aim to build a roster around their superstar duo of LeBron James and Al Horford, the debate has been whether they are better suited to spend their cap space on a third star or to distribute it among high-level role players.
As it turns out, they may be interested in doing a middle ground. The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor reports that the Lakers are among several teams expected to show interest in signing big man Al Horford:
The Mavericks are considered favorites to land Celtics free-agent big man Al Horford, according to league sources, and the two Los Angeles teams are said to also have interest, though they both have their sights set on bigger fish like Kawhi Leonard.
Horford opted out of his 30 million dollar salary with the Boston Celtics earlier this week with initial reports indicating that he would re-sign with them for a smaller salary but longer term. However, more recent signs point to Horford moving on from Boston entirely as they seem to be losing Kyrie Irving in free agency as well.
Horford is a versatile weapon at the center position, capable of playing in the paint or drawing attention from behind the 3-point line. He’s also one of the best defenders in the league among big men despite not being a traditional shot blocker.
The big man makes sense for the Lakers but ultimately the money may be an issue. The Lakers will almost certainly want dependable depth in the frontcourt to take the load off Davis and to replace him in the event of an injury. But spending so much of their money on effectively two centers would not be wise given the lack of depth elsewhere on the roster.
Ultimately, Horford would only make sense for the Lakers in the event that they maximize their cap space and he agrees to take less than the reported $25 million per year salary he is looking to get. If both of those things happen, James, Davis and Horford with Kyle Kuzma off the bench could create the most deadly and versatile frontcourts in the league.