With the NBA Draft tonight, all the focus for the Los Angeles Lakers will be on their 2nd, 27th and 34th overall picks. While the team will likely decide between Jahlil Okafor and D’Angelo Russell, rumors have already started about free agency.
LaMarcus Aldridge is considered this year’s top free agent and has reportedly informed the Portland Trail Blazers he will not return via Erik Gundersen of The Columbian:
A Western Conference executive with knowledge of the Aldridge pursuit has told The Columbian that the free-agent has already informed the Blazers that he will not return to the Northwest.
While the Lakers are expected to pursue Aldridge, the storied franchise was considered a ‘distant third’ behind the San Antonio Spurs and Dallas Mavericks. However, a report emerged on Wednesday saying the Lakers have surpassed the Mavericks on Aldridge’s free agency list.
Heading into free agency, the Lakers will have a projected $24 million in cap space should they decided not to pick up Jordan Hill’s team option. With the No. 2 pick, Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson as the foundation for the post-Kobe Bryant era, adding a player of Aldridge’s caliber would speed up the rebuilding process for Los Angeles.