The Most Important Free Agent for the Los Angeles Lakers to Land This Offseason

As the 2013-14 NBA season winds down, it's clear that the Los Angeles Lakers will target 2015—not 2014—as the free-agent class to help them rebuild. The Los Angeles Times' Mike Bresnahan has reported that LA will bring back Steve Nash this summer, creating cap space for a superstar to join one year later.

The focus is on the future, but we can't ignore what lies immediately ahead. As Kobe Bryant put it back in March, "Oh yeah, let's just play next year and let's just suck again," per ESPN's Dave McMenamin.

General manager Mitch Kupchak may choose to sign short-term deals while awaiting a star, but Bryant's sentiment won't be forgotten. Los Angeles needs to be healthy more than anything else, but one solid pickup will be an unequivocal step in the right direction.

According to Sam Amick of USA Today, Luol Deng is "definitely on the Lakers' radar." The 28-year-old has dealt with health problems in the past, but he's proven he can be productive alongside ball-dominant scorers—a prerequisite for anyone looking to join Bryant and potentially another star down the road.


More than anything, Deng brings physicality and a defensive mindset to the table. Los Angeles desperately needs a lockdown defender on the perimeter, and that's exactly what the two-time All-Star has been throughout his career.

The Lakers would love to add Deng to the mix, especially when looking at the current roster. According to, only Nash, Kobe Bryant and Robert Sacre are guaranteed to return, and according to Bresnahan's earlier report, Kendall Marshall is staying put.

With the potential for a point-guard-heavy rotation—Jordan Farmar also wants to return, according to the Los Angeles Daily News' Mark Medina—signing a floor general should drop on the priority list. Players such as Kyle L...

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