Breaking: 6 Free agents who should be on Lakers’ summer wish list

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The Lakers should try to land these free agents in the offseason.

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The Los Angeles Lakers need to add talent to become serious title contenders. They are fighting to for a spot in the Play-In Tournament and do not want to waste the final years of LeBron James’ career. The GOAT can become a free agent this summer but will stick in LA if the Lakers commit to adding pieces.

The Lakers are always a destination but are only projected to have the taxpayer mid-level exception and minimum contracts to work with. Rob Pelinka and the front office could make trades to open more space, but they have a strong core. The Lakers just need to right pieces surrounding LeBron, Anthony Davis, and Austin Reaves.

This summer’s free agent class is light on marquee names but features several impactful role players. Expect LA to be aggressive, and here are six players worth trying to convince to come to Hollywood at a discount.

 

 

6. Eric Gordon

The 35-year-old was a fantastic signing by the Suns in the summer of 2023. He is averaging 12.0 points, 2.2 assists, 2.0 rebounds, and 0.9 steals in 29.5 minutes per game this season. Gordon is a career 37.1 percent 3-point shooter. He can start or come off the bench and is comfortable playing next to a superstar.

The 6’3 wing has a $3.3 million player option for the 2024-25 season. He is still searching for his first ring and must weigh his role against his chances of competing in any free-agent decision. The Suns expect to be in the hunt, but does he have better odds with the Lakers? Los Angeles may offer more money in hopes of swaying him.

Eric Gordon would give the Los Angeles Lakers some needed scoring, ball-handling, and playmaking punch. He could play next to LeBron and AD or help lead their second unit. Whatever the Lakers need, but the franchise may struggle to convince him to leave Phoenix.

Gordon is not the only impactful veteran free agent this summer. LA may target a big man from a rival to try to round out their roster.

5. Dario Saric

The Lakers’ search for big men to play next to and behind Anthony Davis has been constant. Going back to their title team in 2020, Dwight Howard, JaVale McGee, Andre Drummond, Montrezl Harrell, Marc Gasol, DeAndre Jordan, Thomas Bryant, Mo Bamba, Christian Wood, and Jaxson Hayes have all had brief stints with the franchise. The most recent names haven’t worked, and the Lakers will again be searching for answers this summer.

Saric is best coming off the bench and playing 15 to 20 minutes per game. The Lakers cannot expect too much, but the 6’10 big man continues to make an impact. He is a career 36.2 percent 3-point shooter capable of make the right pass, getting a bucket, and playing stout defense. Saric has produced a 0.121 win shares per 48 minutes this season in Golden State, which is significantly better than the league average.

The 29-year-old would provide some floor spacing and versatility next to Anthony Davis. LA needs shooting, and Saric could be an alternative to going small.

He is coming off a one-year minimum contract with the Dubs. The Lakers could offer a raise or just try to convince him to take the minimum in Los Angeles. The Warriors plan to cut spending, so Saric could be on the move. To where will remain a question until he signs this summer.

4. Alec Burks

Putting shooting and defense around LeBron James has been a winning formula dating back to his early days with the Cavaliers in the 2000s. The Lakers are last in 3-pointers attempted per game this season and 26th in threes made. It plays a massive role in sitting 17th in offensive rating and fighting for a spot in the Play-In Tournament. LA needs more shooting.

Burks has shot 40.1 percent from 3-point range over the last four seasons combined. He is an elite marksman capable of scoring 12 points per game. The 32-year-old wing has no issues coming off the bench and is a skilled role player. The Knicks traded for Burks before the deadline, but he is set to hit free agency this summer after making nearly $10.5 million in 2024.

The 6’6 wing struggles on defense, but he has a plus skill that could help the Lakers immediately. They have issues finding 3-and-D wings. Often their shots abandon them in Los Angeles, and the front office is scrambling to fill a void. Burks has experience playing in the Big Apple, which could help him excel under the bright lights in Hollywood.

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Can the Lakers convince Alec Burks to take a pay cut to play in LA? It won’t be easy, but the veteran is still chasing his first championship. If he believes they can make a run, the Lakers might have a shot at signing him.

3. Buddy Hield

Hield is one of the league’s best shooters. He has made 40.1 percent of his career 4,716 3-point attempts. The 31-year-old is not just an elite shooter, but one who sinks them in volume. Hield has made over three 3-pointers per game in five of the last six seasons.

The 6’6 wing was in trade rumors for years and nearly ended up on the Lakers in 2021. They reportedly had a deal in place before things fell apart. It was a double disaster for Los Angeles as the Lakers acquired Russell Westbrook instead.

Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka was once Hield’s agent. The relationship coupled with the team’s need for shooting has made these rumors fly before. It appears Buddy will have a limited market in free agency, and the Lakers could try to get him on a bargain contract to add floor spacing and offensive punch.

Los Angeles may be searching for 3-and-D wings, but the market will dry up quickly. The Lakers do not want to be left empty-handed. If Buddy Hield gets a $20 million per season offer elsewhere he will go. LA needs his relationship with Pelinka to play a crucial role in Hield accepting a discount. Consider it unlikely, but the Lakers should try.

2. Kyle Lowry

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The Lakers need another ball-handler and playmaker, especially if D’Angelo Russell departs in free agency. Getting a point guard capable of running their offense and spacing the floor is a must. Finding a veteran with championship experience would help too.

Lowry turns 38 years old on March 25 and is in his 18th NBA season. He is currently the fifth-oldest player in the league. The six-time All-Star helped the Raptors win the championship in 2019 and just played a 26-minute per-game role for the Heat in their 2023 run to the NBA Finals. Lowry is declining, but he is shooting 38.3 percent from 3-point range and still dishing out dimes.

He was bought out by the Heat this season before signing with his hometown 76ers. Kyle Lowry will be an unrestricted free agent this summer. Does he decide to stay in Philly or chase a championship with another franchise? Lowry likely won’t command a hefty contract, so the veteran will have his choice of where to finish his career.

The Los Angeles Lakers may turn to him to solve their point guard needs. The franchise hopes to convince an All-Star to join them this summer. LA will have assets to trade but would love to snag one at a massive discount in free agency. Their best bet may be trying to convince someone to make a homecoming.

1. DeMar DeRozan

DeRozan thought he was headed to the Lakers in 2021 before agreeing to a sign-and-trade with the Bulls. Ultimately, LA chose Russell Westbrook over DeRozan in a disastrous move that did not work. The 6’6 wing will be an unrestricted free agent again this summer with an interest in returning home.

DeRozan is an elite scorer. He has dropped over 20 points per game for 11 straight years. The 34-year-old is also a strong playmaker and a master in the mid-range. DeRozan may cramp the Lakers’ spacing, but his ability to get buckets would be a significant boost.

DeRozan is making $28.6 million this season, so dropping to the taxpayer mid-level would be a massive pay cut. The Lakers would likely have to figure out a sign-and-trade to bring DeRozan home. It would involve the veteran taking less money and the Lakers giving the Bulls a draft pick but could keep all parties happy.

The Los Angeles Lakers will be active and aggressive in free agency. They know they need to put more talent around LeBron James if they plan on contending. The Lakers are known for landing free agents, but this class lacks star power. Stay tuned to see what Rob Pelinka and the front office can make happen this summer.

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