Lakers Rumors: How Free-Agency Strategy Affects 2014 Pursuit of LeBron James

The Los Angeles Lakers have never been a team to shy away from major offseason signings. While Dwight Howard exited just as quickly as he arrived, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see general manager Mitch Kupchak brush it off and look for another superstar next offseason.

And as Alex Kennedy of Hoopsworld reported last month, that’s exactly what he plans on doing:

It comes as no surprise the Lakers could be planning a free-agency coup to land LeBron James next summer, providing he opts out of the final year of his current contract with the Miami Heat. Every general manager in the league would love to land the NBA’s preeminent player—though, as we’ve seen time and again, only the most attractive free-agent landing spots are going to be in play for the best player in basketball.

Kupchak understands that, and he’s doing everything he can right now to prepare for the pursuit. As noted by Arash Markazi of ESPN, the GM is playing it safe this offseason to put the Lakers in contention for James next summer:

That strategy has included cutting ties with Metta World Peace and signing a few role players to short-term contracts, effectively freeing up cap space for next offseason.

As noted by SportsCenter, Los Angeles added Howard’s replacement in Chris Kaman to a one-year deal:

Likewise, Nick Young signed on a one-year deal, as reported by Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register:

And now the Lakers have inked Wesley Johnson to a short-term contract, per Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times:

Short-term contracts are par for the course at this stage of free agency, and it isn’t as if Kupchak is reinventing the game with his strategy. What he is doing, however, paints a very clear picture of what his plans are for next summer.

Howard is gone, Kobe B...

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