After three summers where the Lakers have failed to lure big name free agents, it’s difficult to look at the summer of the 2016 with any type of hope.
However, that won’t stop the Lakers from pursuing next year’s marquee free agent, Kevin Durant. The Lakers will once again have plenty of cap space to entice players to come to Los Angeles, but will they be willing to come?
According to Ken Berger of CBS Sports, it’s likely Durant stays in Oklahoma City, but if he does leave the only team he has ever played for, then the Lakers are one of the few teams that have a shot at landing him:
"Most league execs informally polled here at Summer League expect Durant to stay in Oklahoma City when he hits the market next summer. There are only a handful of teams that can legitimately think they’re an option. The Lakers, the Mavs and the Wizards (in Durant’s hometown) are in the mix, for starters. The Knicks? I mean, I guess, in theory."
As Berger states, most believe Durant will stay put. The former NBA MVP has played all of his eight NBA seasons with Oklahoma City and with Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka on board, they form a legitimate contender. Injuries have derailed their championship hopes, but they have the talent to compete in the Western Conference.
The Lakers have a young group of players that have the potential to develop and make Los Angeles an appealing destination once again. Durant will turn 27 in September, so he still has plenty of basketball left and could immediately make this team a contender.
Durant’s foot injury is problematic, but if he’s able to get fully healthy, then the Lakers need to work on their pitch to free agents and learn more about analytics.