Free agency is set to begin at midnight on July 1 and the most sought after player will be Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant. A number of teams are expected to meet with Durant, but unfortunately for the Los Angeles Lakers, they are not one of teams on Durant’s list.
Not being on that initial list of teams has not deterred the Lakers’ hopes however, as ESPN’s Marc Stein reports that the Lakers are among the teams trying to convince Durant to meet with them:
Sources told ESPN.com that the Hawks, like the New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers, have been working to try to persuade Durant and his representatives to have a face-to-face recruiting meeting after free agency starts at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, even though their chances appear dim.
The fact that chances of even landing a meeting with Durant are dim should say everything about the Lakers’ odds of actually convincing him to sign. Durant is looking to win championships and the Lakers simply aren’t close to that level right now.
At this point, the Lakers may just be better off moving on from their Durant hopes and focusing on more attainable free agents. The Lakers have enough money to spend in free agency where chasing Durant won’t prevent them from signing anyone else, but perhaps putting all of their focus on one of their other targets would make it more likely to land them.
The Lakers are expected to make an aggressive run at Miami Heat center Hassan Whiteside who would be a great fit for the young roster and is far more attainable than someone like Durant.
Obviously landing a player like Durant would be an immediate game-changer for the Lakers, but that simply doesn’t seem plausible right now so the Lakers may want to turn towards other players in the hopes of making this summer a successful one.