The Los Angeles Lakers are embarking on what promises to be a busy offseason in which they will attempt to upgrade their roster in order to contend for a playoff spot next season. They hope to keep their top-three protected 2017 draft pick, but the odds are not in their favor. Aside from the draft, President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson and General Manager Rob Pelinka will have to add talent via free agency or trades.
This year’s free agent crop isn’t likely to flock to the rebuilding Lakers, but there are a few pieces they may want to target. For example, an athletic, modern center should be high on the priority list, and there just so happens to be a few on the market.
Dallas Mavericks center Nerlens Noel would fit the bill, and Eddie Sefko of SportsDay believes that the Lakers are exactly the type of team that would make a run at him:
I don’t think anybody will, but if you’re looking for a type of team, it would have to be one that is young and athletic and wants to put speed ahead of all else. The Lakers come to mind, actually. It would have to be a team that either feels it is on the verge of breaking through and needs an athletic big man or one that’s willing to wait a couple years to get the payoff of being competitive. Again, I don’t see it happening.
The Mavericks traded for Noel back in February, parting with a pick that will likely become two second round selections, and swingman Justin Anderson. Noel’s rookie contract is expiring, but the Mavs can make him a restricted free agent by giving him a qualifying offer. They will almost certainly go this route, which would mean that Dallas will be able to match any offer and retain Noel’s services.
Given that fact, it’s unlikely that the Lakers will be able to pry Noel away from the Mavericks. Still, if they can find a way to land him, Noel would provide the kind of energetic rim-protector that the team could use.