The NBA’s free agency period begins at 12 a.m. EST on July 1st, and the Los Angeles Lakers are expected to be aggressive with approximately $66 million to spend. Given the Lakers’ current roster, with Julius Randle and Larry Nance Jr. as the only bigs under contract, it would be fair to assume that the team will focus on finding front-court players to help round out their lineup.
Names like Hassan Whiteside, Al Horford, and Bismack Biyombo are available this summer and could be options for Los Angeles. However, Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak recently stated that the notion that the team needs to pursue front court players may not be entirely correct (via ESPN):
“The argument would be that (the Lakers) need some help in the frontcourt right away. So we do feel we need to address the frontcourt, but taking a step back I think we need help everywhere, so I wouldn’t rule out adding a veteran player at any position. In fact, we may be aggressive at a backcourt position even though we have backcourt players. Not because we don’t like the ones we do (have), but because we believe we can get better.”
Kupchak’s comments are certainly intriguing, with Mike Conley being at the top of this year’s free agent point guard crop. Of course, the Lakers will likely stick with D’Angelo Russell and Jordan Clarkson as their starting guards, but they could use a backup point guard, bringing names like Ramon Sessions, Jeremy Lin, and D.J. Augustin into consideration.
Another possibility, and it’s the most likely one, is that Kupchak is simply doing what he can to keep other teams guessing about the Lakers’ intentions. With most team’s possessing cap space and very few players available to spend it on, free agency will be a feeding frenzy this summer. The less opposing teams know about the Lakers’ plans, the more difficult it will be for them to formulate their own plan of attack.