Since the Los Angeles Lakers season ended without the playoffs for the second consecutive year, all the attention has been on the NBA Draft and free agency. While the Lakers were fortunate to land the second overall pick, free agency takes place a week after the draft.
With the Lakers having the cap space to sign a superstar to a max contract this summer, players like Marc Gasol and LaMarcus Aldridge have been linked to the team. However, according to Ric Bucher of Bleacher Report, Lakers are behind the Dallas Mavericks and San Antonio Spurs if Aldridge decides to leave the Portland Trail Blazers:
The top team that I’m hearing right now is the Dallas Mavericks, that’s where he is from originally, the San Antonio Spurs are also on the list as well as I’m hearing the possibility of the L.A. Lakers, although I believe that is a distant third at this point.
While the Trail Blazers were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs, it would be difficult to see Aldridge leave for a team that is currently rebuilding in the Lakers. Although the Lakers will have a young foundation, the Mavericks and Spurs have the pieces to contend now as Aldridge is set to turn 30 years old in July.
With a projected $23 million in cap space, the Lakers will be players once again this off-season and look to take the next step in the rebuilding process. While it is unclear if Kobe Bryant will play past his current contract, the Lakers are establishing their foundation in Julius Randle, Jordan Clarkson and the No. 2 pick.[divide]