The Los Angeles Lakers are about to venture into what promises to be a very competitive free agent market. With the team coming off a franchise-worst 17 wins season, general manager Mitch Kupchak will look to free agency in an attempt to right the ship quickly.
Thus far, it has been a successful summer for the Lakers, with new coach Luke Walton coming on board as well as rookies Brandon Ingram and Ivica Zubac, who were drafted one week ago. However, if the team really wants to get better fast, they will need to be able to find established talent in free agency.
New York Knicks free agent forward Derrick Williams could help the team on the wing, and according to Marc Berman of the New York Post, the Lakers will indeed be one of the teams pursuing him:
(Phil) Jackson wants to re-sign Lance Thomas, Kevin Seraphin and (Derrick) Williams. Williams will be recruited by at least the Lakers and Suns, according to a source.
Williams is a 6’8″, 240-pound forward who was selected second overall in the 2011 draft by the Minnesota Timberwolves. The thought was that Williams, who played his college ball at Arizona, would be the perfect new-breed forward who could both score from the perimeter and play in the post.
Unfortunately, Williams underwhelmed with the Wolves and was traded to the Sacramento Kings during his third season in Minnesota. Williams still struggled to gain traction with the Kings but carved out a solid role for himself coming off the bench after signing with the Knicks last summer.
For the Lakers, Williams would provide Walton with a versatile swingman who could back up either the small forward or power forward position, although power forward is probably the role he is best suited for in the current NBA climate. He won’t be the first player the Lakers call when free agency begins, but Williams could be a solid veteran forward who still has some upside at 25 years old.