The Los Angeles Lakers are heading into a very important free agency period, where they will hope to use their roughly $66 million in cap space to improve their roster. Coming off of a franchise-worst 17-win season and with star guard Kobe Bryant lost to retirement, the team needs to make a splash if they hope to drastically improve.
Unfortunately, this year’s free agency period is shaping up to be a wild one, with nearly every team in the league having plenty of money to spend thanks to the NBA’s new TV deal. Complicating matters, the free agent pool isn’t very deep, which means the Lakers will have a lot of competition for just a few impact players.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that they won’t give it their best effort. According to ESPN’s Chris Broussard, the Lakers’ wish list of players they will attempt to sign includes some of the top names on the market:
I’m told that besides KD, Lakers’ wish list includes Whiteside, Al Horford, Nic Batum, Harrison Barnes & Ryan Anderson
— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) June 29, 2016
It’s not surprising to see Kevin Durant’s name there, although it’s not yet clear whether or not the team will even get an opportunity to meet with him. Should Durant not be available, the secondary targets on the list are also appealing.
Batum and Barnes would fit in nicely at small forward and give rookie Brandon Ingram time to develop, although Barnes’ status as a restricted free agent could make it tough to land him.
Whiteside and Horford could both fill the opening that the Lakers currently have at the starting center position, while Ryan Anderson would give Coach Luke Walton an excellent power forward option that could stretch the floor.
There is no certainty that the Lakers will be able to sign any of these players, but they will certainly do their best when the free agency period begins on July 1.