It hasn’t been a great start to the free agency period for the Los Angeles Lakers with the storied franchise finding it difficult to get consideration from the best players available. Although many of the big names on the market have passed on the opportunity to sign with the Lakers, center Timofey Mozgov jumped at the chance with new head coach Luke Walton having a lot to do with his decision.
In an interview with Timur Rustamov of Basketball.Sports-Express.eu, Mozgov said he spoke with Walton, who envisions the veteran as his starting center:
Mozgov on desicion to join @lakers: convo with Walton was key, he loves the things I can do on the court and sees me as his primary center
— Timur Rustamov (@t1m1ch) July 1, 2016
It’ll be interesting to see how Mozgov fits in Walton’s system if he’s trying to duplicate the Golden State Warriors style of basketball. Walton likely sees Mozgov as an Andrew Bogut-type for the Lakers meaning he could have a profound role on this team moving forward.
Along with agreeing to terms with Mozgov on a four-year deal, the Lakers also didn’t hesitate to get a deal agreed upon with Jordan Clarkson. The 24-year-old was officially made a restricted free agent with a qualifying offer on Thursday, but it seems as though no teams had an opportunity to give him an offer sheet. Clarkson was determined to stay in Los Angeles.
With Mozgov and Clarkson set to sign contracts, general manager Mitch Kupchak, and company will continue their attempts to upgrade the roster. There are plenty of players that have already agreed to deals on Friday, but there are also still a few viable options for the Lakers.
Notable players the Lakers have been linked to early in the free agency period include Kent Bazemore, Derrick Williams, and Ryan Anderson. Chandler Parsons and Evan Turner were also targeted by the Lakers but have agreed to terms with the Memphis Grizzlies and Portland Trail Blazers, respectively.