The Los Angeles Lakers have been very quiet so far in NBA free agency, but that was expected. Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka made it clear that they weren’t going to be major players and their top priority is preserving salary cap space for 2018.
Shooting and defense are the two major needs for the Lakers and any players they go after would likely be one or the other. They also need to be willing to take on a short-term contract.
The Lakers have reportedly reached out to a couple of players already, and according to Darren Wolfson of KSTP-TV in Minneapolis, the Lakers have shown interest in veteran power forward Taj Gibson:
#Twolves will have interest in Taj Gibson, but told not a ton, at least initially. Nets, Knicks, Lakers, OKC, Pacers, 76ers also interested. pic.twitter.com/SN3Pi2bLg6
— Darren Wolfson (@DWolfsonKSTP) July 1, 2017
The Lakers reported interest in Gibson is interesting in many ways. Gibson is a solid defender, but definitely isn’t someone who can stretch the floor. Furthermore, the Lakers have a logjam in the frontcourt already.
Julius Randle, Larry Nance Jr., Luol Deng, and Kyle Kuzma are set at power forward while Brook Lopez, Ivica Zubac, and Thomas Bryant are all true centers. There simply aren’t many minutes around in the Lakers frontcourt.
The team recently decided to waive center Tarik Black at least partly due to the depth they already have. Thomas Robinson, who impressed many in the organization last season, also may not return to the Lakers and is already garnering interest around the league.
Some point guard depth and more shooting would seem to be the biggest needs for the Lakers right now, but a hard-nosed veteran like Gibson can always bring something to a team.
Gibson was traded last season from the Chicago Bulls to the Oklahoma City Thunder. He averaged 10.8 points and 6.2 rebounds in 78 total games between the two teams last season.