As the free-agency period nears, there are already more than a few players who are rumored to be potential targets for the Los Angeles Lakers.
Free agency officially begins on July 1, and this year's class of free agents features some serious talent. Along with a couple of superstars, there are more than a few key players who could turn teams into legitimate playoff contenders. The Lakers are just hoping to turn things around after going 27-55 last season, and if they can add enough talent in free agency, they should be able to do so.
Having said that, here are a few of the latest Lakers rumors on the eve of free agency.
Multiple Teams Interested in Chandler Parsons
After the Houston Rockets declined the option to pick up the fourth year of Chandler Parsons' deal, the talented 25-year-old is likely to get a big payday from some team by the end of the offseason.
Parsons was set to make just $964,750 next season but will now be a free agent, which means that the Rockets will have the option to match any offer sent to the former Florida Gator. According to Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports, there are a number of teams that would be interested in signing him, including the Lakers, and Parsons believes that he'll be a great fit wherever he goes.
"I feel like I'm in a win-win situation because it's happening a year early," Parsons told Spears about becoming a free agent. "I think a lot of teams could be interested. With the way I play and my versatility, I feel I can pretty much help any team."
Given what he did last year, Parsons could definitely make an impact with the Lakers. This past season, Parsons averaged 16.6 points, 5.5 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game while shooting 47.2 percent from the field and 37 percent from behind the arc.
Even though the Lakers may be trying to find someone else to play on the wing, Parsons would be a good move, especially if they can get him for the right price. However, there a few other players in whom the Lakers might be interested, including a couple of very big names.
Can Pau Gasol Lure Carmelo Anthony to Los Angeles?
Even though Pau Gasol is set to become a free agent on Tuesday, the Lakers apparently believe that they'll be able to acquire a superstar like Carmelo Anthony if they can re-sign the 33-year-old big man from Spain.
ESPN Los Angeles' Dave McMenamin reported that the Lakers aren't ruling out Gasol returning, and that if he comes back there's a good chance the team could pursue Anthony:
In fact, should it appear that [LeBron] James and Anthony are not pursuing a mutual destination as a package deal -- especially with Dwyane Wade, Udonis Haslem and Chris Bosh opting out of their deals with the Miami Heat -- the Lakers believe that having Gasol back on the team could be vital in their solo pursuit of Anthony.
Gasol is likely looking for another big deal after making $57 million over three years in his previous one. The Lakers have plenty of cap space to afford some new talent, as they currently have just over $34 million in salary for next season before free agency, according to HoopsHype.com.
If the Lakers could find a way to trade Nash, who will make $9.7 million next year, they'll have even more cap space to work with.
Although he did miss 22 games last season, Gasol was still very productive down low, averaging 17.4 points, 9.7 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game. He'd be expecting a lot, but if his presence were enough to convince Carmelo to join the Lakers, the team would probably be fine with it, as they'd have three key players for next season in Gasol, Anthony and Kobe Bryant.
There are still a lot of things that could happen, but in the event that the Lakers can't sign a superstar, they apparently have some other solid options.
Lakers Interested In Several Other Free Agents
There are more than a few teams interested in the services of either Anthony or LeBron James, and thus the odds for any one team to acquire either of them are pretty low. The Lakers apparently realize that, however, as they have a few backup options.
According to ESPN.com's Ramona Shelburne, the Lakers are trying to add LeBron or Carmelo, but if they can't get either, they apparently have a strong interest in other free agents like Trevor Ariza, Channing Frye, Kyle Lowry and Greg Monroe.
The two big names that stand out are Ariza and Lowry. Ariza played with the Lakers when they won the NBA Finals back in 2009 and is coming off of a career season with the Washington Wizards, averaging 14.4 points and 6.2 rebounds per game with a very solid 40.7 three-point percentage.
Meanwhile, Lowry is also starting to generate a bit of buzz heading into free agency. He was a terrific point guard for the Toronto Raptors, posting a 20.1 player efficiency rating, per Basketball-Reference.com, with 17.9 points, 7.4 assists and 4.7 rebounds per game. The Lakers desperately need a floor general other than Nash to give them a strong backcourt pairing with Kobe.
Both Monroe and Frye would be solid options down low as well, especially if Gasol doesn't return. The good news here is that none of them would likely expect max deals, which would potentially allow the Lakers to sign a couple of them if the players are interested.
Note: All contract information provided by Spotrac.
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