5 Free agents the Lakers definitely must sign after 2024 NBA Draft

The Los Angeles Lakers landed one of the biggest steals of the 2024 NBA Draft. Next is finding the free agents who can complement their new acquisition.
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The Los Angeles Lakers will enter the 2024 period of free agency with limited financial resources and players that can be included to complete a sign-and-trade. That creates an intriguing web for Rob Pelinka to weave as Los Angeles pursues methods of improvement.

Thankfully, an unexpected opportunity to bolster the roster arrived on the first night of the 2024 NBA Draft as the Lakers landed projected top-10 pick Dalton Knecht at No. 17 overall.

Even the most staunch of Lakers critics have praised the selection of the reigning SEC Player of the Year at No. 17. Knecht was all but unanimously projected to come off the board at some point in the lottery, if not the Top 10.

It's the first domino to fall in an offseason that will see Los Angeles attempt to build around Anthony Davis and, assuming he re-signs, LeBron James.

The question facing Pelinka is who he plans to bring to Los Angeles to add depth and quality to a roster in need of both. There's only so much the Lakers can offer to sign a player outright, but creativity typically permits the acquisition of players within a certain range of talent.

That process could begin with a sign-and-trade that can be built around a restricted free agent who would fit the Lakers' needs.

Simone Fontecchio, RFA

The Detroit Pistons are reportedly willing to take back multi-year contracts in exchange for draft capital. With a potential trade partner that's open to absorbing salaries, the Los Angeles Lakers should take a serious look at restricted free agent Simone Fontecchio.

If the Lakers can figure out the ideal sign-and-trade paramaters, then Fontecchio could be an excellent addition to the system that JJ Redick plans to run.

Fontecchio, 28, has played two NBA seasons, spending time with the Utah Jazz before he was traded to Detroit. In his 16 games with the Pistons, he showcased the ability that had him on the Association radar in the first place by averaging 15.4 points and 2.7 three-point field goals made on .479/.426/.846 shooting.

Basing a potential investment on a 16-game window would be insane, but season averages of 10.5 points and 2.0 three-point field goals made on .460/.401/.818 shooting are worth acknowledging.

A potential low-cost acquisition, Fontecchio could come in and space the floor for the Lakers alongside Knecht. It would give Los Angeles two reserves who excel from beyond the arc, which would be a welcome change of pace considering the second unit ranked 28th in scoring and three-point field goals made in 2023-24.

Los Angeles needs backups who can come in and create offense, and Fontecchio projects to be a low-cost option who can fill that void.