6 NBA Free Agents Whom the Los Angeles Lakers Should Target This Summer
The Los Angeles Lakers are currently in a battle for the last playoff spot in the Western Conference, but that isn't the only thing Lakers' management is worried about.
After this season, management will face numerous tough decisions as they could potentially be looking to replace eight players from this year's squad.
Assuming that the Lakers do re-sign Dwight Howard and Earl Clark, and that Metta World Peace doesn't exercise his early termination option at season's end, the Lakers will have very little money to throw at potential free agents.
With cost in mind, here are five potential free agents that the Lakers should be targeting this summer.
Kyle Korver, Unrestricted Free Agent
2012-2013 Stats: 11.4 points, 4.1 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.0 steals
2012-2013 Salary: $5,000,000
In recent years, one of the biggest flaws for the Lakers has been the lack of consistent outside shooting.
A solution to this problem could be the signing of sharpshooter Kyle Korver.
Korver is once again having a great season shooting the ball, as he is currently averaging a career high of 46 percent from downtown. Along with his ability to knock down threes, Korver has also picked up his rebounding this year, averaging his highest total since his 2004-2005 season.
Korver would be a great addition to the Lakers, as he would ideally stretch the floor and force defenders to stay honest.
While he won't be as cheap as other free agents, Korver is someone the Lakers should be targeting this summer.
Al-Farouq Aminu, Unrestricted Free Agent
2012-2013 Stats: 7.5 points, 7.6 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.3 steals
2012-2013 Salary: $2,947,800
Another player that the Lakers need to consider would have to be small forward Al-Farouq Aminu.
Aminu has quietly been having a decent season with the New Orleans Hornets and could prove to be great backup for Metta World Peace. At 6'9" 215 pounds, he can impact games both on the boards and on defense.
While Aminu isn't known as a shooter, he is a player that can do the dirty work and finish at the rim. The Lakers need a guy that is willing to do the little things. If they can get him at a reasonable price, Aminu would be a great addition coming off the bench.
Timofey Mozgov, Restricted Free Agent
2012-2013 Stats: 2.9 points, 2.7 rebounds, 0.5 blocks, 0.2 steals
2012-2013 Salary: $3,140,429
With the recent injuries that the Lakers have faced this season, one thing has become apparent: they need depth at the center position.
At 7'1" 250 pounds, Timofey Mozgov would be great backup as just his size alone would make opponents think twice about entering the paint. Mozgov has also shown that he has a sweet shooting stroke for a big man and is capable of hitting open shots.
All signs point to Mozgov being available this offseason as a restricted free agent, as he is currently benchwarming behind Kosta Koufos and JaVale McGee. The Denver Nuggets will ultimately have the final say on whether Mozgov will be returning, but at this point, it's a safe bet that he won't be.
Randy Foye, Unrestricted Free Agent
2012-2013 Stats: 11.5 points, 1.5 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 0.8 steals
2012-2013 Salary: $2,500,000
If the Lakers do decide not to exercise their team option on Jodie Meeks this summer, Randy Foye could be a great fit for Los Angeles.
Like Korver, Foye has a great touch from behind the arc and is currently averaging a career high of 42 percent from downtown. Not only can Foye hit the three, he has also shown that he can find the open man.
Although listed as a point guard, Foye primarily plays at shooting guard and is rather undersized (6'4") at that position, which may be a concern for the Lakers if they consider signing him.
Jermaine O'Neal, Unrestricted Free Agent
2012-2013 Stats: 7.2 points, 4.9 rebounds, 1.3 blocks, 0.7 assists
2012-2013 Salary: $854,389
While the Lakers should be looking to acquire youth this summer, they may have to make an exception with Jermaine O'Neal.
Since signing with the Phoenix Suns this past offseason, O'Neal has become one of the team's most reliable players off the bench. Over the past five games, he has averaged 10.6 points, 9.4 rebounds and 2.0 blocks in 19.6 minutes.
While O'Neal is in the back end of his career, he has proven that he can still produce as a solid backup. If he can stay healthy for the remainder of the season with the Suns, the Lakers should make a serious attempt to land this seasoned veteran.
J.J. Hickson, Unrestricted Free Agent
2012-2013 Stats: 13.0 points, 10.4 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 0.7 blocks
2012-2013 Salary: $4,000,000
J.J. Hickson has been putting together a great season and could potentially be one of this year's top free agents.
Although undersized at the center position, Hickson has held his own all season, combating height and size with his energy and mobility. He remains a serious threat down low and can also play a factor in transition offense.
While Hickson is expected to receive a substantial pay increase this summer, the Lakers should extend an offer if the price is right. L.A. needs to be looking for future assets and Hickson could be one.