The Los Angeles Lakers face a difficult situation during the off-season after three disappointing years with two consecutive seasons without a playoff appearance. The storied franchise is on the cusp of a new era with Kobe Bryant potentially having only one more season left and no real star to pass the torch to.
The Lakers may have two promising young players in Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson, and may be able to get a couple more in the upcoming NBA Draft, but there’s no proven star to lead the way.
Fortunately, Los Angeles will have a few opportunities to land a star or two once NBA free agency gets underway on July 1. The New York Knicks will also be major players on the free agent market with more than $50 million to spend, but Bleacher Report’s Howard Beck believes the Lakers have a better shot to land a superstar than the Knicks this summer:
“It’s tough because both of these franchises are not in a great position frankly, Adam. Neither one is poised to be contending for championships anytime soon. So, I don’t know what you’re attracting these guys to aside from the money, but I do think it is the Lakers that ultimately have the edge here for all the obvious reasons. They’ve got all those banners hanging up there and a lot of them are still pretty fresh and pressed from only a few years ago whereas the last one the Knicks hung is awfully dusty and dank at this point.”
The Lakers won’t have the cap space that the Knicks do, but they have constantly been linked to a star that appears ready to hit the open market. Beck believes it will be Love that heads to Los Angeles if he decides to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers:
“With the Lakers on the other hand, if we’re going to be talking about whispers, the loudest whispers I’ve heard in the last several weeks continue to be that Kevin Love not feeling all that great about his time in Cleveland so far and if he’s going to leave it would be to L.A. And he’s a guy that’s absolutely going to be on the move and a guy that we know the Lakers have had an eye on and Kobe [Bryant] certainly wants to recruit.”
The speculation continues to swirl about Love’s future in Cleveland. Although Love has downplayed any notion of leaving the Cavaliers this summer, all signs seem to point to him testing free agency.
The Lakers will be prepared to offer him a max deal if Love does become a free agent in July and it doesn’t appear to be out of the realm of possibility that he ends up wearing purple and gold next season.
As for any other star free agents, the Lakers will definitely show interest in Marc Gasol and LaMarcus Aldridge, but it doesn’t seem likely they’ll be able to land either player in free agency. Rajon Rondo might be the only other big-name player bound for Los Angeles potentially making the Lakers roster much more competitive moving forward.
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