With less than 20 games remaining in the 2015-16 NBA season, the Los Angeles Lakers are headed to the draft lottery for the third consecutive season.
While the Lakers are currently developing their young core, many have already begun looking towards the off-season.
Along with a top-three protected pick, the Lakers are projected to have as much as $65 million in cap space to pursue free agents. While the focus has been on Kevin Durant, the Lakers will be among the teams interested in Chandler Parsons if he decides to opt out of his contract with the Dallas Mavericks, via Tim MacMahon of ESPN:
The list of teams interested in Parsons will be long, with sources expecting the Miami Heat, Los Angeles Lakers, Brooklyn Nets, New York Knicks, Portland Trail Blazers, Houston Rockets, Denver Nuggets and Magic to be among Parsons’ suitors. If Durant leaves Oklahoma City, add the Thunder to the list, with a potential reunion with Parsons’ coach at Florida, Billy Donovan.
With Kobe Bryant retiring at the end of this season, the Lakers will need to find a replacement. In this upcoming free agency, there are limited options at the small forward position as there is a drop off in talent after Durant.
With the possibility of Parsons opting out of his contract with the Mavericks, Harrison Barnes (restricted free agent) and Nicolas Batum are two names the Lakers are expected to pursue as well.
Heading into the off-season, the Lakers have another opportunity to dramatically improve their roster. With the young core playing extremely well down the stretch, it will be interesting to see if the Lakers are able to land a top free agent to speed up their rebuilding process.