The Los Angeles Lakers are treading carefully in the murky waters of free agency, wary of getting drawn into bad long-term deals like they did last summer when they hastily added Timofey Mozgov and Luol Deng.
With Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka determined to have as much cap space available as possible so they can chase stars in the summer of 2018, all they can offer this summer is one-year deals to players like George Hill and Dion Waiters. While the Lakers would love to add a player of that caliber, most of the top players available are looking for the security of a multi-year deal.
Still, Los Angeles is trying, ultimately losing Hill to a three-year, $57 million deal with the Sacramento Kings and Waiters to a four-year, $52 million deal with the incumbent Miami Heat. Reportedly, the Lakers pushed all their chips in on Waiters, offering him just about everything they could, according to Michael Scotto of Basketball Insiders:
The Miami Heat and free agent guard Dion Waiters have agreed to a four-year, $52 million deal, a league source told Basketball Insiders. The deal does not contain any options, Basketball Insiders has learned.
Waiters also received interest from the Los Angeles Lakers, New York Knicks and Chicago Bulls.
The Lakers made a one-year, $17 million dollar offer to Waiters, a league source told Basketball Insiders. New York and Chicago verbally expressed interest, but neither team made an offer.
On average, the Heat’s deal with Waiters actually pays him $4 million less for next year than what the Lakers were offering, but the security of a long-term deal was attractive to a player who had yet to truly cash in over the course of his five-year NBA career.
With Waiters and Hill off the board and Los Angeles still in need of a guard, the Lakers will continue their search for a player willing to take a chance on a one-year deal, with possible candidates including Rajon Rondo, Rodney Stuckey, Jamal Crawford (if bought out), and Tyler Ennis.