It has been the longest NBA season ever, but the finishing line is slowly creeping into sight. The Lakers have booked their spot in the finals of the Western Conference, but they will be forced to wait a little longer before finding out whether they will be coming up against the Los Angeles Clippers or Denver Nuggets.
Either way, the Lakers are considered by Dan King of US SportsBonus as the favorite to advance to the finals.
It will be a difficult challenge during the off-season to improve this Lakers team, but they will need to do just that in order to remain competitive next season. There are a number of talented players out of contract at the end of the season, and these are three that the Lakers could target to improve the depth of the roster.
There is a strong feeling that the Brooklyn Nets are going to re-sign Joe Harris, but the Lakers could force Harris into making a decision where his future lies by making a move for him over the summer. He could be tempted by making the move to the Lakers, as a future challenge at the NBA title is far from assured for the Nets.
They have excellent players such as Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, but neither has ever had the kind of experience that LeBron James has at guiding their team towards the title. Harris would add another exciting element to the Lakers, as he excels at shooting from beyond the arc. Throughout his career, he has enjoyed a 42.3% success rate from the three-point arc.
The Miami Heat have enjoyed an excellent renaissance this term and could be the potential opponents of the Lakers in the finals. However, the Lakers could look at Jae Crowder as one of the players from the Heat that they could be able to tempt their franchise. Crowder was an essential player in the playoff series against the Milwaukee Bucks, and his talents at the defensive end would give the Lakers a chance to give James more of a break.
His best performance during the Bucks series came in game three as he scored 17 points in the 115-100 victory. He made five assists and four rebounds in the match. Crowder is a player that continues to improve and would be an exciting addition to the Lakers roster.
Instead, the Lakers could look to Crowder’s Heat teammate Goran Dragic. This may be one of the harder deals to pull off, as much of it will depend on whether the 34-year-old is happy to take a pay cut to join the Lakers.
Dragic has never achieved success in the playoffs, which means that he could be tempted to join a team that can realistically compete for the highest honors. He would bring with him a wealth of experience, while his ability to score will add much needed back up for Anthony Davis and James. The Slovenian was an important player in the series against the Bucks, as he scored 17 points in games three and four.