The Los Angeles Lakers will look to make improvements to their championship roster, and likely have a full mid-level exception to be able to do so.
L.A. has been tied to several notable names in free agency, and will be hoping that players take some form of discounts to play for a championship. One of those players the Lakers could potentially target is Toronto Raptors big man Serge Ibaka.
Ibaka has been a critical member of the Raptors since 2017, and helped lead the team to their first ever championship in 2019. The 2020-21 season will be Ibaka’s 13th in the league, meaning he may be willing to take a pay cut for the best shot at a second ring.
The Lakers will not be alone in this search, as plenty of other contending teams will want Ibaka to help bolster their roster, according to Sean Deveney of Heavy.com:
One target is Raptors big man Serge Ibaka, according to executives around the league. … The Raptors are still the favorite to keep Ibaka. But if he leaves, he would only do so to have a chance at a championship—teams like the Celtics, the Clippers, the Heat, the Mavericks and the Trail Blazers are among those interested in Ibaka. The Lakers, though, would offer him the best chance at another ring.
Ibaka would provide massive help to any of the team listed above. For the Boston Celtics and L.A. Clippers, he would be their best big man, helping to defend opposing bigs down low. For the Dallas Mavericks and Portland Trail Blazers, he could be a proven veteran to help bring them to the next level of contention.
For the Lakers, Ibaka would provide another spot-up shooter who can also take the pressure off of Anthony Davis during the regular season. He would likely play a similar role to Markieff Morris, but his size would make him even more effective against opposing centers.
While this remains a pipe dream given the value that Ibaka could demand in an otherwise weak market, he would be a perfect fit on the roster and would bolster L.A.’s chances of repeating in 2021.
Free Agency to begin immediately following NBA Draft
With training camps for the 2020-21 season set to begin on Dec. 1, and the NBA Draft scheduled for Nov. 18, free agency will need to happen on a far more truncated schedule than normal.
Because of this, the free agency is due to start just two days after the Draft is completed.
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