The Los Angeles Lakers are in the midst of their worst stretch of futility in the history of the franchise. The team has high hopes for their young core of players, but they will also be looking to make a big splash in free agency with Oklahoma City Thunder stars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook available in 2016 and 2017, respectively.
The NBA’s salary cap is set to make a huge leap in each of the next two off-seasons and the Lakers will be in prime position to sign one or both when they become available. However, with the Lakers being one of the worst teams in the league, it is hard to imagine them landing a major free agent.
ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith reported earlier this season that Kevin Durant had the Lakers atop his wish list this season. When asked on the Mason and Ireland Show about the possibility that Durant and Westbrook could team up with the Lakers, he said the following as transcribed by Lakers Nation’s Ryan Ward via Examiner:
“It’s a big possibility. It’s a big possibility.”
Smith added that the possibility of teaming with Westbrook in Los Angeles is a big reason why he would come:
One of the biggest reasons I’m told, that Kevin Durant may have the Lakers at the top of his list, is because the Lakers have been led to believe, by whom specifically I do not know, but the Lakers have been led to believe that it is a very good chance that the following year Russell Westbrook is coming.”
This is obviously a great thing to hear for Lakers fans, but it is still just speculation and nothing is for certain at this point. There have also been plenty of rumblings that Durant could sign a one-year deal to stay with the Thunder, so he and Westbrook could enter free agency together in 2017.
Whatever the case may be, the Lakers would be wise to make sure they have ample cap space to sign either of these superstars. Even if the chance of one coming is slim, it is still worth the shot, and the Lakers will be sure to take it.