With the NBA draft and free agency approaching and the head coaching vacancy still not filled, the rumors surrounding the prestigious NBA franchise have been swirling.
Here is the latest buzz surrounding the Lakers as the offseason officially begins.
Kevin Love an Option for Los Angeles?
The biggest name involved with trade rumors has been Minnesota Timberwolves power forward Kevin Love. The talented player has grown tired of Minnesota’s losing ways and could look to force his way off the roster.
According to Bill Ingram of BasketballInsiders.com, Minnesota is begrudgingly fielding calls for Love, and one of the franchises reportedly interested is the Los Angeles Lakers:
It’s important to note that the Timberwolves have not sought out trade talks regarding their All-Star power forward, and while they have been fielding calls from 16 or more teams, that’s because Love’s agent is churning the rumor mill.
It’s a poorly kept secret that the Lakers would love to make Love their next franchise cornerstone. If his contract with the Timberwolves simply expires and he goes shopping, expect his home town Lakers to be his very first stop.
The Santa Monica native has been a beast during his short career in the NBA, and he put up huge numbers in 2013-14—he racked up 26.1 points, 12.5 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game—despite the inconsistent play of the team around him.
With a player like Kobe Bryant to take some of the offensive pressure off Love, the low-post presence can make a splash on the boards. Add in the possibility of Los Angeles bringing in role players to further ease the burden, and this would be an ideal fit.
Whether the two franchises could work out a deal is another story.
George Karl an Option at Head Coach?
After former head coach Mike D'Antoni resigned following an awful season in Los Angeles, the Lakers franchise is taking its time finding his long-term replacement.
According to Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News, Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak is exploring all of his options, including former Denver Nuggets coach George Karl:
Can confirm @ramonashelburne nugget that George Karl talked with Mitch Kupchak— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) June 3, 2014
George Karl hasn't had an interview w/ Lakers yet. Just had an informal phone conversation w/ Mitch Kupchak— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) June 3, 2014
Karl spent 25 years as a head coach in the NBA. The longtime veteran helped lead his team to the postseason in 22 of the 25 seasons but was never able to capture the elusive NBA championship.
At 63 years old, Karl may not be the long-term answer for the Lakers at the head coaching position, but this is a veteran leader who knows how to get the most out of players.
The franchise will be looking to bounce back with a playoff berth in 2014-15, and Karl would have Los Angeles in a position to succeed. At the very least, Karl could get the most out of Bryant for the remainder of his career.
Lakers Looking to Trade First-Round Pick in NBA Draft?
The Los Angeles Lakers have the No. 7 overall pick in the first round of the 2014 NBA draft, but the franchise may be looking to move the pick. Whether it’s the pick alone or a possible package deal has yet to be seen.
In one of his latest mock drafts (subscription required), ESPN's Chad Ford reports that the Lakers are looking to trade their first-round pick:
The Lakers keep shopping this pick but are struggling to find an All-Star caliber big in return. If the Cavs can't get that type of player with the No. 1 overall pick, the Lakers are probably not getting it at pick No. 7. If the Lakers keep it, they'll want a player who can come in and contribute from day one, and three players -- Randle, Smart and Doug McDermott -- seem to be the targets.
One of the biggest factors in the eventual decision to deal away this pick will be exactly how the franchise handles power forward Pau Gasol. With the big man falling out of favor due to his inconsistency, the time to move on and let him hit free agency may be at hand.
After making $19,285,850 last season, the Lakers can surely find a better use of the money. If Love is truly available, Los Angles will have the salary-cap room and the winning history to make a serious play for him.
The No. 7 pick could be a major piece in the eventual blockbuster trade.
*Stats via NBA.com.