Will L.A. Lakers Have Last Free-Agent Laugh After Quiet Summer?

While many an NBA franchise immersed themselves in this summer’s free-agency frenzy, the Los Angeles Lakers—long the standard-bearer for big signings and splashy trades—has remained ear-splittingly silent.

LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, Kevin Love: strikeouts all for L.A., leaving Kobe Bryant and company long on cap-clogging legacy money and short on near-term hope.

Then again, these are the Lakers we’re talking about. When you’ve won an NBA championship for every four years of your league’s existence, it’s hard for anyone to believe there isn’t some grand plan waiting in the wings.

According to ESPN’s Marc Stein, L.A.’s latest rebuilding effort could pivot on a pursuit of the dynamic backcourt tandem of Eric Bledsoe and Goran Dragic, both of whom are coming off career years as the chief leaders of the Phoenix Suns.

Of the two, Bledsoe—currently locked in a stalemate with Suns management over the terms of a possible long-term extension—might be the easier get. Particularly if the Lakers are willing to forge a sign and trade along the lines of the five-year, $85 million tender Bledsoe has requested (per Stein).

That deal would most likely center around around Jordan Hill (whose $9 million team option for the 2015-16 season Phoenix would likely decline), a handful of draft picks or other cheap assets, and the expiring contract of Suns legend Steve Nash.

Dragic, meanwhile, has a $7 million player option of his own for 2015-16. Which, following a breakout performance punctuated by his winning the league’s Most Improved Player award, the Slovenian sensation is likely to decline, making him an unrestricted free agent next summer.

At that point, L.A. would likely still have enough to offer Dragic something in the four-year, $56 million range, although doing so would leave them...

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