The Los Angeles Lakers were one of the early winners in free agency as they quickly moved to reach agreements with Wesley Matthews and Montrezl Harrell. Those came days after striking a deal with the Oklahoma City Thunder to trade for Dennis Schroder.
The three newcomers will have prominent roles on the roster and arguably make the Lakers even better heading into the 2020-21 season. However, not having has worked out in L.A.’s favor were the losses of Avery Bradley, Dwight Howard and Rajon Rondo.
There appeared to be risk Bradley would move on in free agency once he declined a player option for next season. Rondo was viewed as a likely departure, but there were reports of mutual interest between Howard and the Lakers.
It appeared as though Howard was returning, however his social media post suggesting as much wound up being misunderstanding of the free agency process. After that came a period of silence from the Lakers, according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports:
Lakers management informed Howard’s agent that they had to consult with team ownership and seek approval before making an official offer, sources said. Howard waited for nearly an hour without hearing back, sources said. Communication was strictly between the Lakers front office and Howard’s agent, sources said.
All-Star Joel Embiid also began recruiting Howard, sources said. Having not heard from the Lakers, Howard decided to join the Sixers on a one-year, $2.6 million deal, sources said.
The Philadelphia 76ers had a hole at backup center after Al Horford was traded to the Thunder and now Howard gets to reunite with Daryl Morey. His loss on the Lakers cannot be understated as he was the most reliable post defender and one of their featured rim protectors.
JaVale McGee exercised his player option, only to be traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers. That was followed by the Lakers signing Marc Gasol to a two-year contract.
Lakers seeking additional big man
With Serge Ibaka signing a two-year deal with the L.A. Clippers, the big man market is looking scarce. The Lakers nonetheless reportedly remain in search of another center to help appease Anthony Davis and his preference to play power forward during the regular season.
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