The Los Angeles Lakers roster will likely look much different next season. Most expected a lot of the current players on the squad not to return. Six players will hit the free agent market in July with Wesley Johnson being one of them.
Although Johnson’s future in Los Angeles remains uncertain, the veteran forward wants to stay with the Lakers, via Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News:
“I want to definitely stay here,” said Johnson about his pending free agency. “I like coach Scott and the whole coaching staff. I love it here. I definitely want to be a part of when they get back.”
Johnson wanting to remain in purple and gold moving forward comes as no surprise. The former lottery pick is posting career highs in a few different categories this season including minutes played (29.0) and points per game (9.5).
Unfortunately, the chances of the Lakers bringing back Johnson might be slim. Although there may not be many options to upgrade the small forward position in free agency, Mitch Kupchak and company will likely do their due diligence in exploring their options.
It has been rumored the team will give a lucrative offer sheet to Jimmy Butler of the Chicago Bulls. Butler will be one of a few desirable restricted free agents this summer and an ideal upgrade for Los Angeles, but Chicago will almost certainly match any offer given to the 25-year-old.
A few other notable players at small forward that could become available this summer are Draymond Green, Jeff Green, Luol Deng, Kawhi Leonard, Josh Smith and Tobias Harris. Only Smith will be an unrestricted free agent. Every other player mentioned either has an option for next season or is restricted.