Free Agency is now in full swing as teams have made their priority calls, have started to have meetings, and already inking players to deals. For a review, I have already covered some strategies the Lakers could take in allocating their FA dollars and taken a look at positional priorities and targets for the front office to focus on.
With that, below is what we know and how things are looking with the Lakers’ pursuit of players and what is going on around the rest of the league…
- Shortly after midnight (EST), the Lakers sat down with LaMarcus Aldridge to pitch him on joining the team. I have seen reports that the Lakers felt better about this meeting than ones with Dwight and Carmelo. I have also seen the below tweet, so who knows.
Lakers didn't make strong impression in Aldridge meeting, sources say. Spurs can close on him. LMA expected to make decision fairly soon.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 1, 2015
- As I write this, the Spurs are meeting with Aldridge, selling him on teaming up with a championship core. The Spurs have, reportedly, already come to terms with Kawhi Leonard on an extension and retained Danny Green’s services. The free up the cap space to sign Aldridge, they have also reportedly traded Tiago Splitter to the Hawks. Heading into the FA process, it was said the Spurs were “in the lead” to sign Aldridge. I think that is still the case.
- The Lakers are not done having meetings, though. They will meet with DeAndre Jordan later on Wednesday in Los Angeles after having Mitch Kupchak and Byron Scott fly to Washington D.C. to meet with Greg Monroe.
- The other news of the day is that the Lakers will also get a meeting with Kevin Love. I don’t believe the former Bruin will be leaving Cleveland, but the fact he’s taking this meeting at all speaks to at least some interest in hearing what the team has to say and, likely, the brand allure the Lakers continue to possess. For what it’s worth, at least one plugged in national writer thinks the Lakers “have a shot” with Love.
Can also confirm @Chris_Broussard report from last night: Kevin Love will be meeting with the Lakers. And I'm told they have a shot.
— Howard Beck (@HowardBeck) July 1, 2015
- If the Lakers wanted a wing who could potentially be an impact player, there aren’t many left. In fact, it seems only restricted free agent Tobias Harris is left from my top five choices — and he was number five. As noted above, Danny Green stayed with the Spurs. Khris Middleton will stay with the Bucks. DeMarre Carroll has reached an agreement with the Raptors. And Al-Farouq Aminu was the first domino to fall in FA last night by leaving the Mavs for the Blazers.
- There is good news for those who want Harris, however. Reports are that the Magic are going hard after Paul Millsap. After drafting Mario Hezonja in June and Aaron Gordon last season, adding Millsap would make Tobias a pretty expensive redundancy. Should any team want him, he may be more easily gettable than he was just a month ago. There will be heavy competition for his services, of course.
- Shifting gears back to their own free agents, Ed Davis received a call from the Lakers shortly after free agency opened last night. But that call was only one of several received by Davis. There will be strong interest in him on the secondary market after guys like Aldridge, Love, and Monroe make up their minds.
- Wayne Ellington is also receiving interest from several teams — including the Lakers. As a 4th or 5th guard, Ellington’s skill set is useful.
- Lastly, with all the major moves being discussed and made, the Lakers made a smaller one yesterday by guaranteeing the salary on Robert Sacre’s contract for next season. Sacre comes cheap (less than a million for next year) is a fine end of the bench big man, and can be used in a trade (with a salary value totaling around $1.6 million).
I haven’t been confident about the Lakers swinging for the fence for months now, and that stance isn’t about to change. Aldridge may not be a realistic goal. Focus on centers now: Robin Lopez, Jordan, Chandler. It may be the case if they sign Lopez first, Aldridge may follow.
The FA period doesn’t look to be starting off that well for the Lakers. Aldridge seems likely to go to the Spurs, and Deandre is probably between the Clippers and Dallas. Kevin Love is still a long shot to leave the Cavs, but even if he is open to joining the Lakers, he’s a PF and we need a C. I guess that leaves Greg Monroe? I haven’t followed him too closely, would he be a good fit for the Lakers as currently constructed?
Monroe is defensively deficient. He’s a Jordan Hill clone.
What’s our Plan B assuming we miss on Aldridge, Jordan, and Love?
Anyone think enes kanter might be worth the max …. i think the thunder are probably crapping their pants with all this FA money out there … will be forced to sign enes to like 12mil+
We didnt list him initially but hes super young and still good on offense and we need someone in the front court
Monroe is better than hill … yes defense not great but offense is
Lakers games will be exciting next year with a lot of scoring, unfortunately most of it by the opposing teams.
Ramona Shelburne ?@ramonashelburne 21m21 minutes ago
The Lakers felt they waited too long on Melo last year and it cost them. Going into this year, they were determined not to make same mistake
My god! Let that tweet sink in a moment. The Lakers dodge the biggest bullet of all time – Melo (a one dimensional, selfish and fading talent who missed 42 games this season) and are upset about it.
Since the Knicks would love to move him do we have to worry about the FO using our cap space in a deal for Melo?
I think she means while they were waiting on Melo, lots of other guys signed so they don’t want to make same mistake and wait on Aldridge
Lakers action items for today:
1) dump Young’s salary. This gives the Lakers $30 mil to spend.
2) Sign Greg Monroe fpr $15 or $16 Mil annually *he only wants a two year deal so he can test the market again).
3) Offer Harris a max deal (contract will look OK when the cap goes up)
SF: Harris (age 22)
PF: Randle (age 20)
C: Monroe (age 25)
SG: Kobe (age 37) / Clarkson (age 23)
PG: Russell (age 19)
I think that lineup is a good foundation for the future.
I lurk from time to time at KnickerBlogger, and many NY fans are fervently hoping for something like that to go down. I don’t see it happening.
FA is going about like I expected. Like I have said, there is not much reason for in-demand FAs to want to be here right now. Jimmy Butler is also expected to re-sign with the Bulls for 5/90.
As to Harris and Monroe, they are both young and pretty good, but do not play great D, and are not great fits with the three young guys the Lakers have. But I would be fine with them.
Craig W. says
First of all, what we have at this time is pure rumor. The Laker front office is totally quiet, and will remain so until someone is signed. Gripping about not knowing what the Lakers are doing is pure gobbly-gook. They don’t want you to know what their plans are – apparently they are successful.
Also, the Lakers don’t control the players, it is the other way around in free agency.
This is going to get more confusing before things become clear. It is important that the Lakers sign a veteran who will help the team, and the rookies, but they do not control the process. We will make an offer to DJ and Monroe. That doesn’t mean we are not also talking to Chandler and R. Lopez.
You never really know what you are going to do under extreme pressure until you experience it. Well some fans are starting to run in circles, complaining about the sky falling. That doesn’t mean the sky won’t fall, but we don’t know yet.
My sources tell me no top tier guys but yes on lopez and possibly paul pierce. Ed davis gets lucrative offer from another team
Maybe Kobe shouldnt be in meetings………..
Kanter is the worst defender in the league.
Hope the FO doesn’t make a mistake and sign someone just to sign someone. I think the Laker brand only goes so far especially for max guys since everyone, except the home team, can offer the same amount of money. The Lakers can’t outbid teams any more. The other factors come become more important such as the chance of winning, coach/system, FO/ownership, team chemistry, location.
If you were a FA and had 2 offers worth the same amount, where would the Lakers rate on these other dimensions? Chance of winning it all is low right now. Coach/system is unsettled. FO/ownership, except Mitch, is concerning in my opinion. Team chemistry is unknown with so many new players and one aging, alpha superstar. Location is an obvious plus. Compare this to the Spurs or Mavs and increasingly the Clippers and the differences become more stark.
Of course, that doesn’t mean the FO shouldn’t go after impact players, but the Lakers seem to have more issues that will take time to resolve.
Maybe Jim Buss shouldn’t be in meetings………
Now Paul Pierce is one old guy I’d actually like to see in a Lakers uniform.
He won’t lead us to the promised land, but he seems to still have some basketball in him, and if so would be fun to have as a Laker.
Nice narrative too, since he’s from L.A.
Nice post. I expect that Chandler is waiting to see what Jordan does. I presume that Chandler (or Lopez) will be Plan B for the Clippers if Jordan walks. Chandler turns 33 in October, so I don’t see him wanting to be on a team at the bottom.
It is never a good idea to presume that other people see Kobe Bryant the same way that you do.
Brian Windhorst ?@WindhorstESPN 1m1 minute ago
Kevin Love will accept a five-year, $110 million contract extension with the Cavs according to sources
The market’s now thin (maybe even empty) on the defensive wing front, but still a lot of good defensive bigs to be had that would improve our team tremendously.
Personally, I think the Lakers are at least two years away from luring huge names and, given some of the signings today, may be looking at different names in two years than what we thought possible.
Time to look at tier three — I’ve seen some ideas floating around on other sites referencing advanced stats, but curious what folks here think. Assuming most of the names Darius mentioned yesterday are gone, who should the Lakers target for C? SF?
Adrian Wojnarowski ?@WojYahooNBA 1m1 minute ago
The Suns are bringing Tyson Chandler into the meeting with LaMarcus Aldridge as part of their pitch, league sources tell Yahoo Sports.
Adrian Wojnarowski ?@WojYahooNBA 2m2 minutes ago
Tyson Chandler has agreed to a deal with the Suns, league source tells Yahoo Sports.
I should know this, but if there are no trade partners- Can we simply waive a player under salary, ie Swaggy, pay him, but keep it off the books so far as the cap goes? On Harris, he’s got the rep as not a good defensive player, but a close look at the stats suggests otherwise. Keep in mind he’s 22 and Orlando was very young and unsettled last year. Only negative with him is that this puts bag to SG instead of SF, and may inhibit development of players like Brown and Nance or possibly Randle. Plan B to me shud be plan A if we can land Chandler or Lopez at under $10/year to go with Harris. If we can squeeze in Davis all the better. We’d be in P & R heaven with an actually decent defense.
Only with the stretch provision. I think they could use that on Young, but I am not sure.
Starting to look like the Lakers did not have a solid plan on what they needed and who they could get. The obsession with Aldridge was a bad call as he was not a good fit to begin with.
Looking like those who pushed for Monroe and Harris were at least focused on players that wouldn’t be gone within 12 hours of free agency starting.
No ribbons for second place – you’ve got to know who you can and can not get.
Brian P. says
ESPN sources say Tyson Chandler has agreed to a four-year deal with the Phoenix suns worth $52 million
Re: Nick Young, amidst all this over spending for players his contract isn’t as bad as everybody makes it seem. He did have an offer year, but if comes any where close to the year before he will be a valuable guy off the bench for a reasonable amount.
Glad Love is off the board. Rebuilding is no fun, but I don’t think Love would have been the answer because we still don’t know what the question is in terms of our style of play and he’s not a player, although very skilled, that I would build around like Anthony Davis is.
The salary cap has changed the rules of the game and the ownership needs to adapt. The odds of finding a quick fix like the Heat did are low. Think about the circumstances that needed to fall into place for that to happen. Doesn’t mean you don’t try, but all lot has to go right.
It will be interesting to see which organization returns to prominence more quickly between the Lakers, Celts and Knicks. Each has its pluses and minuses. All have some brand value. I’d say that the Celts have a relatively more stable FO/ownership, good coach based on last year’s finish and solid but no obvious superstar players. The Knicks have a system, mixed to still negative FO/ownership with Dolan as a minus and Phil as mostly a plus and a still unknown at coach.
I think the Lakers can most quickly get their front office/ownership in order by making it clear that Mitch is running the show and stepping out of the limelight. Of course, that’s probably not going to happen. Unfortunately, the public/player perception of the Buss family, fairly or not, is not favorable in my view. See what the young guys can do and try to create the conditions that will allow them to succeed. Admittedly I don’t what those are, but maybe it starts with building a style of play around their strengths assuming that we didn’t draft with them to fit into a certain mold ala Porzingis and the Knicks.
Craig W. says
I love this. First we say the players we would like the Lakers to go after. Then we start saying the didn’t have a plan B when they weren’t immediately able to sign these players. And we are less than 24hrs into free agency.
Come on people, this has to play out for a while, and we were always going to lose more than we would win. We really only have to win one battle for this to be a success.
Too many people are blaming Mitch and Jim for not getting anyone with the cap space. Bottom line, free agents have to take less money to leave the team. So unless they are jumping to a title contender why would they ever do that? I just don’t think you can blame Jim Buss or Mitch for Kevin Love (or Carmelo or anyone else) wanting that extra 30 million plus. It’s the new CBA, so what can you do? Draft well and trade smart.
Love knows he isn’t a good player. Or he would have signed a one year deal and got a big payday next year. He is a smart guy. The Cavs just paid 200 million for one great player… Loves outside shooting with Thompsons defense and rebounding… That’s a max player. But as two players that’s the biggest waste of money a team has spent in one offseason. But Cavs didn’t have a choice. They don’t think they can sign free agents.
Sounds like Ajinca is off the market — he was a guy I thought the Lakers could look at.
Yeah which was why going big for aldridge with all the hoopla and treating monroe like second fiddle when the knicks were there at 12:01pm was stupid
Amir johnson just signed for 2 yrs 24mil with boston
How is everyone going to feel when it would have been a bargin to keep hill at 9mil this year
Brandon wright should be the next available target …. dallas will probably give him lile 10mil plus when they whiff on dj
Looks like we are going to option 3
We should keep our money and tanl for a top 3 spot … almost everyone in the west got better than us today … only one going down migh be portland …. were still last in the division
I want the Lakers to try and make a big splash this year. However, I’m not overly concerned if they fail. A line up of Randle PF, Bryant SF, Upshaw C, Russell PG, Clarkson SG looks pretty good already to me.
If the Lakers cannot land a guy like LA or DJ I would prefer the Lakers trade for an expiring contract center than sign a lesser player to a long term contract essentially buying an insurance policy on Upshaw. I can think of a few guys I would like that other teams are trying to get rid of who would probably offer up a pick or 2 to swallow that contract.
Maybe sign a SF/SG like Gerald Green.
@Aaron, Sick of you dissing Kevin Love. It’s one thing to say he’s not a max player, I agree with you there. But now the “He knows he’s not a good player” BS??? Come on, Love is not a good defensive player, but he is still a solid rebounder, an excellent 3pt shooter for a PF and has a wide array of offensive weapons from the post that as a Cav he didn’t have the opp to use. If we could have snagged him for 12mill a year or something, I would have been all for that. And your wrong, some other team would have maxed him out if the cavs didn’t–in part b/c he’s still young.
Chris J says
ESPN is so bad…
In the same story it wrote, “Sources told ESPN.com that Phoenix has committed all of its available salary-cap space to sign Chandler away from the Dallas Mavericks and pair him with guards Brandon Knight and Eric Bledsoe as the Suns’ new cornerstones” followed by
“the Suns came to terms with Chandler quickly enough to be able to bring him into their scheduled afternoon recruiting meeting with Portland Trail Blazers free agent LaMarcus Aldridge.”
If Phoenix just spent all of its cap space on Chandler, what are the Suns doing to “recruit” Aldridge? There’s no money available. What am I missing here?
Koufos is still out there, as is R Lopez – pick those two up and we’re good to go.
Looks like there’s more than a one in a million chance that Green doesn’t simply re-sign w/ the Warriors – hopefully that possibility grows enough for the Lakers to have a shot (still pretty close to impossible, but no other available wings to talk about at this point).
Brian P. says
Restricted free agent Draymond Green and the Warriors have reached an impasse and have broken off contract talks, sources tell ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne.
Hmm, I would much prefer to max him out than to give that money to Tobias. Problem is there is still a solid chance Golden State matches a max offer.
You agree with me then. If you wanted him for at most 12 million (I would only want him for 10) That’s half of the max. If min is bad player and max is great player then half is an average player. So we agree he is an average NBA player (as in…not a good NBA player). And it looks like Kevin Love agrees with us and went for the Lon term cash before another average year in Cle where he probably is on he bench at the end of games.
T. Rogers says
I think the plan for the Suns would be a sign and trade getting Aldridge and sending Eric Bledsoe to Portland. Apparently, Portland is interested in Bledsoe.
west coast ram says
Why does this seem like musical chairs and the Lakers are going to be left standing. Then we will be told that it is okay because that was the strategy all along as they wanted to keep cap flexibility. The reality is that the Lakers are having a hard time getting quality players to accept their money. All those years that they were just throwing away back of the 1st round draft picks is now catching up with them as they have no real assets to work with. Instead of having guys they could be developing they picked guys with no intention of keeping on the roster and signing washed up veterans to sit at the end of the bench.
Maybe this is part of the Lakers 2016 Stealth Tank. Pretend to be interested in free agents to the point of a huge dog and pony show for Aldridge know he and other free agents were not going to come. I guess we’re going for a top 3 pick in the 2016 NBA Draft.
Mike BresnahanVerified account @Mike_Bresnahan
LaMarcus Aldridge will not be joining the Lakers, The Times has learned. They were a 50-50 choice but he disliked bball part of presentation
Waiting for Craig W to spin this one…
Mark breshnan reporting on twitter that lakers are our of the aldridge sweepstakes …. our presentation focused too much on LA the city, weather, and other business opps instead of basketball ….. ugh … also he didnt get atraighr answers on if Kobe was i guess retiring …. so i guess Kobe will play past this year …. i dont get guys not wanting to play with him though …. he is a winner, sure hes tough but grow the fuxk up
@gene: Maybe Kobe shouldnt be in meetings………
Mike Bresnahan @Mike_Bresnahan
More LMA: He and Kobe didn’t quite gel. It’s a little vague, but Aldridge apparently didn’t quite get answers from Kobe he was seeking
Really Love is now only worth $12 million when guys like Harris are worth more than that. Love is a max player as long as the max is this low.The guy two years ago was considered a top 10 guy. He does more than just shoot threes and rebound (he actually scores in the post if you watch him play, he can pass, he creates his own shot, has a high basketball IQ. He just doesn’t defend well). I don’t think he is in the top 10 but he is an all star so he is definitely in the top 25. You may not like Love but he is better than he shows with the Cavs because of how they use him.
That would be so funny if Kobe did not retire at the end of this season.
Kobe was signed to his massive extension because Jim Buss had made so many mistakes previously that he was afraid of screwing up yet again. So instead of making any real basketball decisions he punted and hid behind tow more years of Kobe (only to have that blow up even worse).
Now it looks like the weakest part of our presentation to Aldridge was the basketball part, in other words the part of the organization that Jim is responsible for. Umm.. how does Jim still have a job?
the other Stephen says
front office: “love me pls.”
If the F.O. is truly trying to sell players on L.A. opportunies instead of the team opportunity I’m going to join the cult of Robert.
I laughed, although you may be serious?
And now it’s all Kobe’s fault?!?! Come on…