The Los Angeles Lakers’ off-season got off to a great start when the team moved up to second overall in the NBA Draft. The team will be able to add a major piece in the draft, but just as important to their summer will be free agency which begins July 1.
The Lakers will have around $22 million available after the draft and are expected to pursue big names. One of the biggest available is Portland Trail Blazers power forward LaMarcus Aldridge. However, according to Ric Bucher of Bleacher Report, the Lakers are not a viable option for him:
The Lakers and Knicks are not considered viable options, league sources said, because Aldridge isn’t likely to sacrifice $27 million—the difference between a max five-year deal with the Blazers and a four-year deal with anyone else—to join a rebuilding team in a bigger, more expensive market.
This isn’t too much of a surprise. Aldridge is 30 years old and the Blazers are only a piece or two away from championship contention and can offer him the most money. If Aldridge was to leave money on the table, it would only make sense to do so for a team that can win a title, not one who is just starting their rebuilding process.
Unfortunately for the Lakers, playoff teams such as the Dallas Mavericks and San Antonio Spurs can offer the same amount of money to potential free agents. If other big names have the same feelings as Aldridge reportedly does, the team may be better served going after younger players from bad teams who are looking to breakout such as Greg Monroe or Tobias Harris.[divide]