Lakers Rumors: Evaluating Latest on Big Names Expected to Be Free Agency Targets

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistJune 24, 2019

Brooklyn Nets guard D'Angelo Russell gestures toward the crowd after hitting a three-point shot during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Lakers Friday, March 22, 2019, in Los Angeles. The Nets won 111-106. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

The Los Angeles Lakers have already achieved the primary goal of their offseason by securing a trade for Anthony Davis with the New Orleans Pelicans

But the team's first roster build under head coach Frank Vogel is far from over, even though it has two cornerstones in Davis and LeBron James. 

Although Davis and James will carry the bulk of the scoring pressure on their shoulders, the Lakers have to find a few more important players during free agency to round out a championship-caliber squad. 

With the start of free agency less than a week away, the Lakers have already been linked with a few notable players, but some of the availability for top stars is dependent on other moves across the NBA


Latest Lakers Free Agency Targets

D'Angelo Russell 

D'Angelo Russell went through a rocky breakup with the Lakers before his trade to Brooklyn, but the two parties could make amends to come together during free agency.

Chris Szagola/Associated Press

With Earvin "Magic" Johnson out of the Lakers front office, some people close to Russell have indicated he may be open to a return to the franchise, per Bleacher Report's Eric Pincus

Russell blossomed into a star during his two seasons in Brooklyn, and he broke out in a major way last season with 21.1 points and seven assists per game, both of which were career highs. 

There is a good chance Russell will be available to the Lakers if Kyrie Irving follows through and signs with the Nets

Although the Nets would love to have two high-quality guards in their backcourt, they possess similar skill sets at the point, and it might not be the ideal situation for both players to fit into. 

That is why the Lakers look like an intriguing landing spot for Russell, as they have a direct need at the point with Lonzo Ball being shipped off to New Orleans in the Davis deal. 

Combining Russell, Davis and James would make the Lakers one of the best teams in the Western Conference before even playing a game. 

Russell is a fit with the two superstars on the roster because he will not take up space in the areas of the court Davis and James thrive in, while other free agents on the market might possess similar playing styles to the two. 

In Russell, the Lakers would have an elite distributor to get the ball to Davis and James, as well as an elite scorer who showed last season that he can be the top man on the team when the situation calls for it. 

Signing Russell would give the Lakers a great front end of the roster, and it would allow the front office to focus solely on rounding out the rest of the squad in order to have the best shot at winning a championship. 


Brook Lopez and DeAndre Jordan

According to ESPN's Brian Windhorst on a recent podcast, the Lakers are interested in veteran big men Brook Lopez and DeAndre Jordan (h/t RealGM).

"The Lakers, I think, are sniffing around (Lopez)," Windhorst said. "I think the Lakers need perimeter players. I think they're going to have to use their money on perimeter players. I know DeAndre Jordan is a guy on the Lakers' radar that they're hoping they may able to get for relatively cheap because he wants to be back in L.A."

Neither player would be the top target on the team's free-agent wish list, but they would bring valuable characteristics to a roster that needs plenty of help at the moment. 

During Milwaukee's run to the Eastern Conference Finals, Lopez flexed his versatility down low and from beyond the arc. 

Morry Gash/Associated Press

Lopez's improved three-point shooting ability should be intriguing to the Lakers, as he has shot over 34 percent from downtown in each of the last three seasons after struggling from that part of the hardwood early in his career.

Jordan has averaged over 10 points per game in each of his last six seasons, and he is coming off a season in which Dallas shipped him to New York as part of the Kristaps Porzingis trade. 

Jordan has plenty of experience playing in Los Angeles from his time with the Clippers, and his presence in the paint would allow Davis to spend more time away from the rim. 

Mary Altaffer/Associated Press

Lopez and Jordan would still be more expensive than other lesser-known quantities on the free-agent market, but they would provide significant improvements to the roster and would still come at affordable prices. 

Of the two, Jordan might be the better fit because of his double-double ability that would occupy space in the paint. 

If he was in the starting lineup with Davis and James, Jordan would take the pressure off the two stars in the rebounding department since he has averaged a double-double in every season since 2013. 

On the other hand, Lopez's rebounding totals have decreased in the last two seasons, one of which was with the Lakers, and he has never averaged a double-double season in his career. 


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