1 Dream, 1 reach, 1 realistic free agent for Lakers to target

The Los Angeles Lakers have limited, but not nonexistent, options in free agency. What might the perfect free agency period look like on the basis of dreams, reaches, and realistic aspirations?
Los Angeles Lakers v Philadelphia 76ers
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As is the case every time the offseason rolls around, the NBA at large can’t help but wonder what kind of splash the Los Angeles Lakers are going to be able to make in the summer. Rumors are already swirling about potential trade opportunities, but the need for depth will persist regardless of what transpires on the superstar front.

As such, a simple question is on the mind of every Lakers fan around the world: What can this team actually accomplish with such limited resources in free agency?

The Lakers have franchise cornerstones in Anthony Davis and LeBron James. Throw in quality contributors such as Austin Reaves and Rui Hachimura, and, on paper, Los Angeles is in a better position than most in terms of building towards a championship season.

Unfortunately, limited cap space is going to be a massive hurdle for the Lakers to overcome, especially with the need to create depth without losing key pieces.

During a recent appearance on Buha’s Block with Lakers Insider Jovan Buha, salary cap specialist Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report explained what tools are available to the Lakers in free agency. He outlined the Taxpayer Mid-Level Exception, which enables Los Angeles to pay just over $5 million to an incoming free agent.

In the hypothetical event that Hachimura were to be traded, the Lakers would create an additional $8 million in cap space—something that will be taken into consideration in this article.

The question is: What exactly might free agency look like for the Lakers if the potential signings were a dream, realistic, or even a reach in logic?

Dream Lakers target: Tyus Jones

As LeBron James enters his age-40 season, the Los Angeles Lakers will likely be looking to alleviate some of the pressure that he faces on offense. There are a variety of options in that regard, as the Lakers could look for an isolation scorer or even an elite spot-up shooter who can get easy buckets for a team in need.

If the Lakers are dreaming of signing a player for the aforementioned $13 million, then giving Tyus Jones a chance to shine in a major market after a year with the lowly Washington Wizards would be a great start.

Jones, 28, is one of the most effective and efficient facilitators that the NBA has to offer. He finished 2023-24 with averages of 12.0 points and 7.3 assists in 29.3 minutes per game, doing so while committing just 1.0 turnover per contest.

It was the first time in Jones' nine-year NBA career that he averaged at least 1.0 turnover per game—easily one of the craziest statistics in basketball.

In addition to taking care of the ball—and, for what it's worth, the Lakers ranked 19th in turnovers in 2023-24—Jones is an efficient three-point shooter. He boasts a career mark of 36.7 percent from beyond the arc and knocked down 41.4 percent of his 256 attempts in 2023-24.

Size on defense would be a concern, but adding a high-level facilitator who can space the floor, expertly run the pick and roll with Davis, and take a burden off of James would be a dream with such limited cap space.