Without a first-round pick, the Lakers were not among the teams involved in constant speculation regarding Jimmer Fredette.
However, this is not to say that Los Angeles remained free from speculation, because they didn't.
Rumors are still swirling in regards to the Lakers pursuing one of the premier 2012 free-agents-to-be in Dwight Howard, Chris Paul and Deron Williams. Many have the Lakers' first choice on that list being Howard, but Orlando maintains they are not entertaining offers for the superstar center.
Whether or not the Magic truly aren't accepting offers for Howard, it's time for the Lakers to shift their attention to the two point guards who head the 2012 free-agent class.
Paul is a name that has been thrown around an awful lot around Los Angeles, and who can blame them? On the season, he averaged 15.8 points, 9.8 assists and 2.4 steals per game. And then we cannot forget the clinic he put on against the Lakers during the first round of the playoffs.
Against Los Angeles in the postseason, Paul averaged 22 points, 11.5 assists, 6.7 rebounds and 1.8 steals per game. While the Hornets fell, the Lakers just could not find an answer for Paul.
Paul would be an instant upgrade on both ends of the floor over the aging Derek Fisher. His court vision is tremendous and his defense is impeccable. Additionally, his transition into purple and gold would be effortless because his facilitating mindset compliments Kobe perfectly.
Williams, the other top-tier point guard of the 2012 free agency class, has not been mentioned much as a possible target for the Lakers.
This comes as a surprise, but expect Williams to Los Angeles rumors to increase as times goes on?
Because as time goes on, the Lakers are going to realize that Deron Williams is their best option, and not Chris Paul.
Mind blowing to many, but it makes sense.
Williams had a great season this past year. He averaged 20.1 points, 10.3 assists and 1.2 steals per game. He is an above-average defender and strong to drive through the paint and take on those much bigger than he.
Additionally, his court vision is just as good as Paul's and many believe that he is the more natural scorer.
Both Williams and Paul are comparable statistics wise, so what exactly makes Williams the better fit for Los Angeles?
If Paul comes to the Lakers, it will almost certainly be in a trade that will cost the Lakers, Andrew Bynum or Gasol, Lamar Odom and draft picks. New Orleans is not about to let their star player leave for almost nothing via free agency.
However, New Jersey might.
This is not to say that the Nets do not know what they are doing. It just means that the Nets are more inclined to take that risk.
Nets owner Mikihail Prokhorov wants to assemble a competitive team around Williams, and given the risk taken nature the team has already exhibited during his short tenure, all indications are the Nets will not shop Williams.
New Jersey, more so than either the Magic or Hornets, will follow their vision through until the very end when they either succeed in keeping Williams, or fail and watch him go. Thus, Williams is more likely to enter free agency.
The Lakers may not have the cap to sign Williams outright, but Nets would be amenable to a sign and trade once they see he is ready to ink somewhere else.
Additionally, Williams wants to team up with another star, and doesn't care who, for lack of a better way to express it. This means, at the prospect of joining Kobe, Williams would agree to take less money to play for Los Angeles.
Yes, Williams will command more than the mid-level, but players like Ron Artest (or whomever he is calling himself these days) can be dumped; there will be teams willing to take a risk on him if the price is not too high.
Once the Nets see that Williams is ready to take less money, they trade him for picks and a trade exception so that they do not walk away with nothing.
And of course, there is also the option Williams forces New Jersey's hand midseason and says he is going to the Lakers no matter what, which forces the Nets to accept whatever low-ball offer Los Angeles throws at them.
This may all be speculation, but there is validity to it.
New Jersey is more desperate than New Orleans, meaning they are willing to risk more. The Nets will not deal Williams until they are 100 percent sure he is leaving, and by that point, they will have no leverage over negotiations.
So while the thought of Chris Paul dishing the rock off to Kobe Bryant leaves Lakers fans salivating, remember that there is a point guard in New Jersey just as young and just as good, who may be able to be acquired for much less.
The less the Lakers have to relinquish, the more intact their team stays.
And the more likely the chances are that Kobe and company bring another title back to Los Angeles.