With so much money available this off-season, the Los Angeles Lakers are expected to target a number of players in hopes of turning things around this summer. Of course, there are big-name targets such as Kevin Durant, DeMar DeRozan, and Hassan Whiteside, but there are other potential targets flying under the radar.
One of those names is Festus Ezeli, a backup center for the Golden State Warriors, who could potentially flourish if given a bigger role.
That role could come in Los Angeles as Sean Deveney of The Sporting News reports that the Lakers will have interest in Ezeli this summer:
The Lakers, a source said, will have an interest in Ezeli, seeing his size and rim-protecting defense as an ideal complement to forward Julius Randle. L.A., of course, just hired Warriors assistant Luke Walton to be its coach.
Deveney also notes, however, that Ezeli’s preference is to remain with the Warriors and eventually take over the starting role once Andrew Bogut is done:
A source indicated that Ezeli’s preference is to remain with the Warriors — who have the right to match any offer — under the assumption that he would take over as the team’s starter when Andrew Bogut’s contract is up after next season.
Ezeli is an interesting potential target for the Lakers as he has only been seen in a limited role. It would make sense that he could grow into a larger role, and the Lakers could surely provide that. Ezeli is a restricted free agent, however, so it would likely take the Lakers overpaying him to have a chance to get him away from the Warriors.
There is also the question of Ezeli’s injury history as he sat out all of 2014 after right knee surgery and had missed 46 games this season after arthroscopic surgery on his left knee.
Whether or not Ezeli’s relationship with new Lakers coach Luke Walton will play a role in the Lakers chances remains to be seen. It is a good sign that the Lakers seem to have targeted other than big-name prizes.