Lakers News: Latest on DeMar DeRozan, Alex Caruso Rumors and More

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistAugust 2, 2021

Lakers News: Latest on DeMar DeRozan, Alex Caruso Rumors and More

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    Eric Gay/Associated Press

    NBA free agency is upon us.

    The market officially opens at 6 p.m. ET on Monday, but it's already close enough to send the rumor mill into overdrive.

    Would you believe me if I told you the Los Angeles Lakers were involved in a lot of that buzz? Of course not. The Lakers are perpetual news-makers, and that's as true now as ever, as they look to construct a championship-level supporting cast around LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook.

    Let's look further into the latest rumblings.

DeMar DeRozan Might Be Out of LA's Price Range

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    Eric Gay/Associated Press

    In theory, the Lakers could present an interesting sales pitch to DeMar DeRozan.

    They could bring the Compton native back home and give him a chance to compete for his first NBA title. They're in the market for extra playmaking and shot-creating, too, so this would be more than a ring-chasing bench gig.

    Unfortunately, the idea doesn't hold up in reality, as the Lakers lack the financial flexibility to add someone of his ilk.

    "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," B/R's Jake Fischer wrote.

    DeRozan, who soon turns 32, just averaged over 20 points for the eighth consecutive season. He isn't at the point of his career to take a deeply discounted deal in pursuit of a championship. That might be just as well, since his inside-the-arc scoring would've really squeezed what little spacing this offense has left.

Teams Want Lakers' Young Guards

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    John McCoy/Getty Images

    The Lakers were light on both shooting and youth this past season. The market might exacerbate those deficiencies.

    Alex Caruso and Talen Horton-Tucker are both free agents, and there are "multiple suitors" eyeing each one, per ESPN's Zach Lowe.

    Either guard could get pricey quick, and the Lakers don't really have a resource to control the situations. Horton-Tucker is at least a restricted free agent, but an expensive, unfriendly offer sheet might be more than L.A. can match.

    Perhaps this forces the Lakers to choose, which would set up a fascinating debate. Caruso has the higher floor; Horton-Tucker boasts the higher ceiling. L.A.'s championship-or-bust reality might favor Caruso, but with nothing saved up for the future, maybe the franchise sees too much potential in THT to let him go.

Plenty of Veteran Targets for LA

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    Jesse D. Garrabrant/Getty Images

    To the surprise of no one, the Lakers are in the market for veterans.

    It's a sensible shopping focus for two reasons. First, L.A.'s championship window is open right now, so it needs reliable players who can contribute right away. Second, players in the twilight of their careers might be most amenable to leaving some money on the table for the chance to win the game's ultimate prize.

    The Lakers have eyes on pretty much anyone who fits that description. Fischer mentioned Andre Iguodala, a former client of Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka, and Patty Mills as targets. Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times also mentioned both and added Wayne Ellington, Trevor Ariza, Carmelo Anthony, Dwight Howard, Jeff Green and Goran Dragic to the list.

    Basically, if you're an established vet who might reasonably be open to taking minimum money, you should probably expect a phone call from the Lakers.