Lakers Rumors: Evaluating Latest on Big Names Expected to Be Free-Agency Targets
Despite having championship aspirations once again this past season, the Los Angeles Lakers fell in the first round of the playoffs. The tandem of LeBron James and Anthony Davis was spectacular when both players were healthy, but that was too often not the case.
A lack of depth and a lackluster supporting cast cost Los Angeles a chance at repeating as NBA champions. The Lakers are looking to remedy the situation this offseason and have already made one significant move toward that end.
While trading for Russell Westbrook isn't going to address the Lakers' need for outside shooting, it does give them a third star on which to lean. In theory, this should allow James and Davis to play fewer minutes and will increase their odds of making it to the playoffs at 100 percent.
The Lakers still need to bolster that supporting cast, though, and will likely look toward free agency to do it. That challenge will begin at 6 p.m. ET on Monday, when NBA free agency unofficially begins.
Here, we'll dive into the latest free-agency buzz surrounding Los Angeles.
DeMar DeRozan Drawing Interest from Multiple Teams
San Antonio Spurs standout DeMar DeRozan was an early offseason target for Los Angeles, even before the Westbrook trade. According to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, James had spoken to DeRozan about the possibility of acquiring him via sign-and-trade.
"San Antonio Spurs unrestricted free agent DeMar DeRozan was in talks with James, sources said, but the Westbrook deal eliminated that option because it would have required a sign-and-trade scenario and a Kuzma inclusion," Haynes wrote.
According to Bleacher Report's Jake Fischer, the Lakers were holding out hope that they could still land DeRozan at the taxpayer mid-level exemption. However, that proverbial ship appears to have sailed.
"It's believed both the Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers saw DeRozan as amenable to coming home and chasing a championship in his native city at the taxpayer mid-level exception that would net roughly $5.9 million. That no longer seems to be the case," Fischer wrote.
Carmelo Anthony Interested in Joining L.A.
While Los Angeles may not have a good chance of landing DeRozan, 37-year-old Carmelo Anthony is a realistic target.
According to Broderick Turner, Andrew Greif and Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times, Anthony is on board with joining longtime friend James in L.A.:
"Carmelo Anthony is interested, just waiting on a call from the Lakers when free agency opens Monday. Guess who might be back for a third time? Yup, Dwight Howard is ready to return and play center. Jeff Green and Goran Dragic also are names to look out for."
The interest appears to be mutual.
"Lakers are 'very interested' in the prospect of signing Carmelo Anthony, per a league source. Melo has been linked to the Lakers as a possibility, given his friendship w/LeBron dating back to high school," ESPN's Jordan Schultz tweeted.
While Anthony is no longer the offensive powerhouse he once was, he could be a big asset off the bench. He averaged 13.4 points while shooting 40.9 percent from three-point range last season.
Patty Mills, Wayne Ellington Could Be Shooting Options
The Lakers need to surround James and Davis with more consistent outside shooting, and while Anthony may be able to help there, he isn't the final answer.
According to Turner, Patty Mills and Wayne Ellington could be options for Los Angeles.
"One name that is coming up is Patty Mills. He can shoot the lights out and would be great off the bench. Wayne Ellington is another shooter who has interest in rejoining the Lakers," Turner wrote.
As is the case with most quality free agents, the Lakers are going to have competition on the open market. According to Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald, Mills is among "seven or eight" free-agent targets for the Boston Celtics.
Mills shot 41.2 percent from the floor last season while shooting 37.5 percent from beyond the arc. Ellington—who played for Los Angeles during the 2014-15 season—shot 44.1 percent from the field and 42.2 from three-point range in 2020.