With the Los Angeles Lakers 9-41 through the first 50 games of the 2015-16 NBA season, most have shifted their focus to the NBA Draft and free agency. As the franchise only has a top-three protected pick as a result of the Steve Nash trade in 2012, they will have ample cap space to pursue superstars again.
This summer, all eyes will be on Kevin Durant. With the Golden State Warriors a serious threat to sign Durant, Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical believes Lakers have ‘little, if any, chance’ to sign the superstar in free agency:
The big free agents, they’re forever living one of two things in the months leading into summer: searching for reasons to stay, or searching for reasons to leave. Durant has always been looking for reasons to stay. He adores the Oklahoma City community and holds a fondness for the franchise, but Durant is chasing championships, chasing a legacy.
This limits his choices, leaving the Los Angeles Lakers with little, if any, chance.
While the Lakers may not be able to sign Durant, Wojnarowski shares he could still end up in Los Angeles:
Outside of those well-known suitors – Washington, Houston and Miami – there’s another California team determined to make a bid for Durant, league sources tell The Vertical: The Los Angeles Clippers. If the opportunity comes to move Blake Griffin and replace him with Durant, the Clippers won’t hesitate, sources said.
At this stage of the rebuilding process, the Lakers have been able to establish a young core of D’Angelo Russell, Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson. However, the top free agents are looking for their best chance to win multiple championships now and the Warriors would provide Durant with that opportunity.
If the Lakers are ultimately unable to land Durant, there are numerous free agents like DeMar DeRozan, Hassan Whiteside and Nic Batum that would speed up the rebuilding process in hopes of returning to championship contention.