6 Free Agents The Los Angeles Lakers Could Be Targeting This Offseason
6 Free Agents The Lakers Could Be Targeting This Offseason originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area
The Los Angeles LakersThe 2022-23 NBA season has officially ended without a championship after losing 4-0 to the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference Finals, even leading to LeBron James considering retirement.
The Lakers started the season with a 2-10 record and fans immediately expected success. But some much-needed plays (changing Russell Westbrook and adding D’Angelo Russell, Rui Hachimura, Jarred Vanderbilt and Malik Beasley) to the traded deadline gave them the boost they needed, allowing them to concede a conference best 18-9 reach the deadline.
However, defeating the Nuggets wouldn’t be enough – although they did prevail against the Memphis Grizzlies and the Golden State Warriors.
However, now all eyes are on the current squad and how they can achieve even more success next season. So will the organization try to keep the team together, or will they enlist outside help in free agency to fortify the team for another playoff push?
Here’s a look at some potential off-season destinations LA could be interested in this summer:
There have been many rumors that a LeBron-Kyrie reunion could be on the horizon. The 31 year old Dallas Mavericks Star Guard is eligible for a four-year, $220.6 million free agency deal this summer if he re-signs with Dallas.
The former Cleveland Cavalier played alongside LeBron for three seasons and the pair won the infamous 3-1 championship against the Warriors in 2016. While Irving is no stranger to finding his feet on a new team, whether he wants to use his talent in LA remains to be seen.
Reaves immediately became an integral part of LA’s success this season after his second NBA season and first playoff appearance.
The 24-year-old shooting guard averaged 16.9 points, 4.4 rebounds and 4.6 assists in the postseason.
It’s clear the Lakers want this player for seasons to come. And while Reaves has become an attractive player that many teams want, there may not be much motivation for him to leave the club. Especially afterwards tells ESPN’s Dave McMenamin in April: “I would like to spend my entire career here.”
A key player whose addition makes a lot of sense in the Lakers backcourt is James Harden.
The Philadelphia 76ers Guard could become an unrestricted free agent this summer if he declines his $35.6 million player option for the 2023-24 season. A Los Angeles native who played basketball in the area until his transfer to Arizona State, he could join the Lakers and give James some much-needed rest as another ball player on the team.
Harden finished his season with the Sixers averaging 21.0 points and 10.7 assists, shooting 44.1% from the field, 38.5% from distance, and 86.7% from the free throw line.
If signing Irvings seems out of reach for the Lakers, there’s one point guard that could be on the Lakers’ radar if they don’t re-sign Russell: Raptors star Fred VanVleet.
VanVleet has had a somewhat bumpy season for the Raptors (19.3 points, 7.2 assists, 4.1 rebounds), but if they’re to improve significantly as a point guard, they’ll likely have to sacrifice much of their cap rank.
Toronto could run VanVleet this summer, which would make him a top target for the Lakers.
The Lakers may want to take another shot at the team’s former guard Jordan Clarkson – who has grown significantly since leaving Los Angeles in 2018.
The nine-year veteran has emerged as one of Utah jazz’s greatest talents after a successful season. Clarkson has averaged 17.8 points per game in 250 games with the Jazz. Last season, he averaged a career-high 20.8 points per game with 44.4% shots and 33.8% from distance.
If the Lakers are looking for an athletic player who is still in their best form and is not too expensive, then Clarkson is the place for you.
Draymond Green’s days with the Dynasty of Golden State Warriors could come to an end. After a stellar 11-year streak at Golden State and four NBA championships, Green could step out of his contract this summer and become a free agent. And he’s already been linked with the Lakers.
Green, who is also represented by Klutch Sports, has been very explicit about his friendship with James and that kind of chemistry could well carry over to the floor.
Is LeBron James a free agent?
LeBron James will play the upcoming season in the final year of his contract, which will net him $46.9 million. James has the option to opt out of contract for the 2024-25 season.
Who are the Lakers Free Agents?
Here’s a full list of the 2023 Lakers free agents:
Lonnie Walker IV
Malik Beasley (team option)
Troy Brown Jr
Austin Reaves (restricted)
Rui Hachimura (restricted)
Scotty Pippen Jr (restricted)
Will Kyrie Irving be a free agent this summer?
Irving finished the 2022-23 season with the Mavericks and will be a full free agent this summer.