The Los Angeles Lakers are set to face a key offseason in the summer, as Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka need to pull off a miracle or two if they want to make up for this disaster of a campaign.
Not making the playoffs again is something the Lakers just can’t seem to afford, as they can’t waste yet another year of LeBron James, especially with his prime finally coming to an end at age 34.
But, this organization has made a complete mess of themselves and truth to be told, they may not be at the top of some free agents’ list, and even if they land Klay Thompson or Kevin Durant, they still need to boost their rotation.
So, let’s take a look at 10 realistic free agents the Lakers should pursue, regardless of if they wind up signing a superstar or not.
10. Kent Bazemore
Kent Bazemore was a part of one of the worst Los Angeles Lakers teams in recent history, but he’s grown a lot ever since, and he’s completely wasting the best years of his career with the Atlanta Hawks.
Bazemore is one of the most underrated backcourt defenders in the league and is a strong, athletic finisher. He’s made great strides as a scorer as well, and they could be able to convince him without offering much money.
9. Terrence Ross
We already know what Terrence Ross can give us. He’s a solid and streaky shooter and an athletic freak that can get hot in the blink of an eye and put up a lot of points on the scoreboard on any given night.
He’s not much of a defender and consistency is always going to be an issue, but he could have an Eric Gordon kind of role for the Lakers and even be in the mix for the 6th Man of the Year Award.
8. Trevor Ariza
The Lakers were allegedly pretty close to pulling the trigger and trading for Trevor Ariza before the Washington Wizards snatched him out of the Phoenix Suns, so they might as well pursue him this summer.
Ariza is not the younger among these free agents, but he’s still one of the best 3 and D players in the league, and he already knows what it takes to win a Championship with the Los Angeles Lakers.
7. Darren Collison
Darren Collison is not likely to extend his stay with the Indiana Pacers, with the team really high on Aaron Holiday as their playmaker for the future and Victor Oladipo set to make his return from injury.
He played for UCLA and Rajon Rondo is most likely headed out the door following this disaster of a season, so he might as well make a comeback to Los Angeles to lead their second unit. He’s a great backup point guard and scorer.
6. Al-Farouq Aminu
Al-Farouq Aminu won’t give you much in the offensive end of the floor, but he definitely makes up for it by being one of the best defenders in the league. He’s a plus defender at the wing and a true hustler.
Aminu can lock down the best scorers in the world on any given night and he’d really help hide LeBron’s – lack of – defense. Shooting and spacing may be an issue with him, but he’s a worthy pick up.
5. DeAndre Jordan
The Lakers had already expressed their interest in DeAndre Jordan, should the New York Knicks buy him out. Now that we all know that didn’t happen, they could pursue him in the summer.
Jordan is not the same old dominant shot-blocker he used to be, but, by all means, he’d be a major upgrade over both JaVale McGee and an aging Wilson Chandler, and he already knows that LA lifestyle from his years with the Clippers.
4. Danny Green
Danny Green has loved it in Toronto so far and he’s even made some comments that may suggest that he’d like to stay up north, but if the team is not willing to make an offer for such an aging player, he may be up for grabs.
Green is one of the best fast-break defenders in the league and a streaky three-point shooter. He’s exactly the kind of player LeBron needs next to him right now, even if his impact doesn’t show in the stat line.
3. Nikola Mirotic
Nikola Mirotic has thrived ever since leaving the Chicago Bulls and he’s finally proven that he can be an impactful stretch-four in this league. With him and Kuzma, the Lakers would be primed for a deadly small-ball lineup.
Mirotic can really help the Lakers push the pace and knock down shots for three, a couple of points of emphasis from Luke Walton that didn’t pay off the way we all hoped. He’s also still pretty young.
2. Rudy Gay
Rudy Gay is a proven veteran and while he draws a lot of hate from his doubters, he’s really embraced a lesser role with the San Antonio Spurs and has been arguably their most productive contributor not named DeMar DeRozan.
Gay can be a volume scorer if needed, let alone his great defense. He can play at both forward spots and could even guard some undersized big men. It’s a bit of a reach, but he’s definitely worth the risk.
1. JJ Redick
JJ Redick is one of the best three-point shooters in the league, and we all know LeBron James needs as much shooting around him as he can probably get. He’s a plug guy and a great fit for this system.
Obviously, he’s not much of a switchable defender, but pairing him with Lonzo Ball may be more than enough to hide his flaws. He’d have to take a pay cut to join the Lakers, though, unless the Sixers are willing to overpay for him.