The Los Angeles Lakers will begin working the phones on Tuesday night in an effort to drastically improve their roster for next season and beyond. The green light for NBA free agency will start at 9:01 PM PST with the Lakers getting the first crack at arguably the most sought after free agent in LaMarcus Aldridge.
Apparently, Lakers rookie D’Angelo Russell, who has been in Los Angeles for less than week, already has high praise for his new city and hopes Aldridge signs on the dotted line when the time comes.
In an interview on The Jim Rome Show on Tuesday, Russell made his sales pitch to the veteran power forward:
“Man, who doesn’t want to be in L.A., starting with that. The franchise is on the come up, they’ve been so spoiled with winning around here, losing is not an option,” Russell said. “I mean Portland, he played well, they played well as a team, they made some strides, but L.A., just me being out here for these few days, these few months I was before, there’s nothing like it. A lot of guys want to be here, a lot of guys live here in the summer, so many faces here that you play on the Lakers you are already at the top of the crop of all the people that live here.”
With the addition of Aldridge, the Lakers would instantly improve their frontcourt and their appeal to free agents this summer and the next. Aldridge may be turning 30 in July, but the four-time All-Star is still playing at an incredibly high level as one of the best players at his position in the NBA.
Apparently, Russell isn’t the only current Laker pitching Aldridge to sign with the team this summer. Kobe Bryant is also expected to take part in the pitch to the veteran forward once free agency gets underway.
Although the Lakers are clearly in the running to sign Aldridge, Mitch Kupchak and company will have their work cut out for them. The San Antonio Spurs are currently considered to be the frontrunners while the Portland Trail Blazers still have a shot at re-signing him.[divide]