Lakers Rumors: Buzz on Russell Westbrook Pursuit and Other Roster Moves

The Los Angeles Lakers won't win a title next season. 

That sounds mean, but the Lakers sit in the middling throes of a rebuild. It's not a bad thing, either—the future looks much brighter than it has in a long time.

Why not be positive? The core of D'Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson and Julius Randle hasn't gone anywhere. Luol Deng changes the culture of a locker room and leads young players. Television money made the Timofey Mozgov contract look silly, but a starting center—even if he winds up being a stopgap solution—is a starting center.

Oh, and there's a guy by the name of Brandon Ingram, who through two games in the Las Vegas Summer League has shown flashes of brilliance while posting 9.5 points per game.

Alas, general manager Mitch Kupchak recently painted a clear picture of the organization's short-term fate:

Realism never hurts, especially in the stacked Western Conference.

The note doesn't mention the future after next season, though, which is what the Lakers continue to build for after Kevin Durant wouldn't even give the team a visit and USC product DeMar DeRozan preferred to remain in Toronto.

Kupchak seems to understand the Lakers just aren't at the point of luring someone like Durant to town. The locale and franchise history are no longer enough to woo a major name. 

That explains the interest in Maurice Harkless of the Portland Trail Blazers, according to the Los Angeles Times' Mike Bresnahan.

"The Lakers have more than $30 million left to spend toward next season’s payroll," Bresnahan wrote. "They are still seeking a small forward and could be 'in the mix' for Maurice Harkless, according to a person familiar with his thinking."

Los Angeles added Deng, but the interest in Harkless speaks to the direction of the franchise. The St. John's product is just 23 years old....

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