With NBA free agency looming it is the right time to discuss possible scenarios. The summer ’16 free-agency will definitely be an exciting one with the amount of talent hitting the market. The team that has the largest upside to make change is the Lakers. After posting consecutive seasons with franchise worst records, the Lakers need plenty of help and have plenty of money to do so. Here are a few names that we believe makes the most sense for the franchise.
Kevin Durant: Kevin Durant is the biggest star hitting the market. The Oklahoma City Thunder have been on the cusps of an NBA title but have failed to turn the corner. They have reached the finals once, conference finals three times, and the conference semi-finals once, all in a five-year span. So who would Durant choose other than the Thunder? The Lakers are the best case scenario for Kevin Durant for a variety of reasons. Many of the all time greats have rolled through Hollywood and some point or another. LA is a big city market giving Durant the ability to gain even more endorsements. Since arriving to LA, Chris Paul has reeled in a plethora of endorsements so just think about what would be available to KD. Durant is frequently in LA during the offseason. He has made appearances at The Drew, been spotted outside of LA night clubs, workouts with Russell Westbrook in LA and more. Lastly, the Lakers have a great amount of cap space available with the recent retirement of Kobe, expiring contracts of ten other players, and the expected salary cap increase. All of this combined has Durant looking at a pretty healthy pay day.
Hassan Whiteside: The Lakers need to beef up the interior presence is apparent. Roy Hibbert would be lucky to resign with the Lakers as his on court play as been abysmal as of late. With that being said, Whiteside has been a double double machine and has been a beast when it comes to blocking shots. Whiteside is also a player who will be gaining one of the largest salary increases as he made just under a million for the 2015/16 season. As discussed before, the Lakers have plenty of money to do so. If both Whiteside and Durant were to sign with the Lakers, we could see the Lakers having around 30 million left to build their bench. This of course is dependent on the salary cap increase a show much the Lakers are willing to spend on Durant.
Demar Derozan: This may be a long shot because Derozan would command a top ten player contract. But as said before, the Lakers have plenty of money available. Derozan would be a perfect complement to Durant as they could both fill it up in the scoring category while being thrown oops(literally) by D’Angelo Russell. This season Derozan is averaging a career best 23.3 PPG and has turned up the intensity in the latter part of their series vs. the Indiana Pacers. The Lakers could use their hometown advantage as leverage while negotiating with him as he is an LA native. Currently, Toronto is on a high but there is only so much Drake can do to keep an LA kid in Toronto.
The best case scenario for the Lakers would be the following lineup:
2. Demar Derozan
Bench: Lou Williams, Nick Young, Larry Nance Jr., Anthony Brown, and other role players the team could see fit.