Los Angeles Lakers Must Turn Free-Agent Focus to Filling Obvious Hole at Center

The official start of NBA free agency has arrived, and the Los Angeles Lakers are hard at work looking to plug a gaping frontcourt hole.

Time is somewhat relative, as the 12:01 a.m. ET Wednesday opening bell for free agency also means 9:01 p.m. Tuesday on the West Coast.

Per Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News, the Lakers front office got a quick jump on the process:

The Lakers plan to meet with Portland center LaMarcus Aldridge once free agency starts on Tuesday night, according to a league source familiar with the team’s itinerary. The Lakers will then follow that up with a meeting on Wednesday with Clippers center DeAndre Jordan, the league source said.

Medina goes on to point out that L.A. can offer either player a “four-year deal worth $80 million as opposed to a five-year deal worth $108 million they can make with their respective teams.”

The Lakers will have roughly $23 million in salary-cap space to work with once they sign deals with their new rookie acquisitions from Thursday night’s draft—point guard D’Angelo Russell, power forward Larry Nance Jr. and small forward Anthony Brown.

Selecting Russell with their prized No. 2 pick was an instant indication that the Lakers would look to the open market to solve their center quandary. Speaking with the press after the draft, Lakers manager Mitch Kupchak confirmed that focus, per Joey Ramirez of Lakers.com.

“I think we’d look to focus on the frontcourt,” Kupchak said. “We’re going to do the best we can. We’re always optimistic going in.”

The Lakers further solidified their intention Monday when they opted not to exercise Jordan Hill’s $9 million team contract option, per Sean Deveney of Sporting News.

So now the chase begins. The Lakers can’t bank on either Aldridge or Jordan, of ...

About the Author