The Los Angeles Lakers will be busy during the summer with the franchise intent on turning things around as soon as possible. The main focus for Los Angeles right now is the upcoming NBA Draft lottery on May 19 followed by the 2015 NBA Draft on June 25.
Although the team is currently concentrating on draft prospects and hoping for the best in the draft lottery, Los Angeles will also look to make a splash in free agency. One of many players the Lakers may pursue is small forward DeMarre Carroll, according to Shaun Powell of NBA.com:
He’ll find himself in an interesting spot this summer as a free agent for the second time. Carroll will be in demand and has raised his value to the point where he could triple his salary come 2015-16. But he’s a late-bloomer (28 years old) who doesn’t have a long track record for playing at this level. Interested teams must decide whether Carroll’s best years are indeed ahead of him, or if he’s a role player taking advantage of the Hawks’ system. With the salary cap expected to jump, the Los Angeles Lakers, New York Knicks or Dallas Mavericks (among other teams) could force the Hawks’ financial hand.
One of the biggest weaknesses for the Lakers over the past few years has been at the small forward position. At times, Nick Young picks up the slack off the bench at the three spot, but Wesley Johnson simply hasn’t been able to turn the corner and provide consistent play at the position as a starter.
Adding Carroll into the mix in Los Angeles would definitely be an upgrade for the Lakers in more ways than one. Carroll is a solid defender and will be coming off a career-year with the Atlanta Hawks in which he averaged 12.6 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game.
Signing Carroll may come with a fair amount of risk considering his play may be a product of the system in Atlanta. Carroll has thrived under reigning NBA Coach of the Year, Mike Budenholzer, and it remains to be seen if he can be as productive in another system after signing a lucrative deal this summer.
Carroll is arguably the best option at small forward of the unrestricted free agents expected to hit the open market come July 1. All other top-tier small forwards either have a player option or will be restricted free agents in the off-season.
The list of potential free-agent small forwards this summer includes LeBron James (player option), Kawhi Leonard (restricted), Draymond Green (restricted), Jeff Green (player option), Tobias Harris (restricted), Luol Deng (player option) and Paul Pierce (player option).
There’s been rumors of the Lakers possibly showing interest in Draymond, Harris and Deng, but the consensus seems to be that none of these players will be leaving their current teams.