The Los Angeles Lakers are hoping to revamp their franchise this summer by signing at least one impact free agent. However, the pickings are slim this go-round, and the odds aren’t helped by the fact that a spike in the NBA’s salary cap will give most of the league the ability to pursue max-level free agents.
Still, the Lakers hope to make a splash, and free agent forward Kevin Durant is at the top of their (and everyone else’s) list. An initial report stated that Durant would not meet with the Lakers, followed by another one that suggested that Los Angeles will still attempt to schedule a sit-down with the superstar swingman.
Unfortunately, it appears that the pendulum has swung back to the negative. ESPN’s Chris Broussard reported that Durant indeed will not meet with the Lakers:
Despite their hopes, Lakers will not get a meeting with KD, sources say.
— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) June 29, 2016
While not signing Durant isn’t surprising, not even getting a meeting is a bit of a shock to the Lakers’ pride. In years past, they have at least garnered some attention from top free agents, even if their team clearly wasn’t built to win right now.
That said, Durant’s snub could be construed as a positive. The Lakers have long been known to focus their attention on the whales while smaller, more attainable players slipped away to other franchises. Now that they are out of the Durant race before it has even begun, GM Mitch Kupchak will have no choice but to prioritize some of the other targets on their list.
Even with Durant off the board, free agents like Al Horford, Hassan Whiteside, Nicolas Batum, Chandler Parsons, and Bismack Biyombo could still prove to be difference makers for the franchise should they be able to sign them.