The Los Angeles Lakers moved quickly at the outset of free agency once it began as they reached an agreement with center Timofey Mozgov on a four-year deal and re-signed promising guard Jordan Clarkson for four years.
The Lakers surely aren’t done as the team still has holes to fill and must add depth and one name that has come up is Portland Trail Blazers forward Moe Harkless.
According to Mike Bresnahan of Time Warner Cable SportsNet, the Lakers are ‘in the mix’ for Harkless, but things will move slowly since he is a restricted free agent:
Lakers are "in the mix" for Harkless but nothing serious yet. He's a restricted FA; teams are cautious about tying up money this early.
— Mike Bresnahan (@Mike_Bresnahan) July 1, 2016
Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders notes, however, that the belief around the league is that Portland will match any reasonable offer for Harkless:
Problem for the more than half-dozen teams at the table for Moe Harkless – belief that Blazers will match anything thats not crazy.
— Steve Kyler (@stevekylerNBA) July 1, 2016
If this turns out to be the case, the Lakers would likely have to overpay or creatively construct a contract in order to try and get Portland not to match. Kyler also points out that Portland’s max contract offer to Chandler Parsons, if accepted, could change things about whether or not they would match a deal on Harkless.
One thing that seems apparent this offseason is that the Lakers realized that they weren’t in play for most of the big names and have quickly moved on to solid players who may not move the needle, but could improve the team. Mozgov fit that bill, and Harkless does as well.
Many may have been hoping for a big splash in free agency, but it doesn’t look like that’s happening. Instead, the Lakers will seemingly focus on role players and hope for significant development from the young players on the roster.