Lakers Rumors: The Los Angeles Lakers are preparing offer sheets for Portland Trailblazers forward Moe Harkless and Boston Celtics center Tyler Zeller, per several sources.
Harkless and Zeller are both restricted free agents. Therefore Portland and Boston would have the flexibility to match offer sheets and retain them.
Lakers Rumors: Moe Harkless a top target
ESPN’s Marc J. Spears has reported that Los Angeles is among a number of teams pursuing Harkless. Spears’ report was confirmed by Lakers beat writer Mike Bresnahan, who added that Lakers are “in the mix” for the combo forward.
Harkless, 23, averaged 6.4 points and 3.6 rebounds last season from nearly 19 minutes per game. Despite his low production, Harkless was integral to Portland’s success which culminated with a second round defeat in the playoffs to the Golden State Warriors. Harkless was a starter for Terry Sttots during the playoffs. He started a total of 14 games during the regular season.
According to Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders, Portland intend to match offer sheets for Harkless because franchise player Damian Lillard “is very close” to the free agent and would prefer to have him back for next season.
Portland recently signed point forward Evan Turner to a 4-year $70 million contract, leaving the door open for either Harkless or Allen Crabbe, the pair of restricted free agents, to bolt this summer.
Bleacher Report reckons Harkless would be a good fit with the Lakers: “Still, Harkless could potentially give the team solid depth at forward and support a young core that includes Ingram, Clarkson, D’Angelo Russell and Julius Randle. His signing wouldn’t be the sort of splashy move that many Lakers fans were hoping for, but he’d help round out the team’s rotation nicely.”
Lakers Rumors: Is Tyler Zeller a good option?
According to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne, the Lakers view Zeller as an intriguing option in the front court rotation which already includes Timofey Mozgov, Julius Randle and Larry Nance Jr.
Zeller became an afterthought for Boston coach Brad Stevens last year. He played just 11.8 minutes per game for his 6.1 points and 3 rebounds. Therefore, it’s conceivable that Zeller can be had by the Lakers with a lucrative offer sheet.
Bleacher Report opines that Zeller could replace Mozgov as the starting center in due time. “In Los Angeles, he would likely compete for minutes with Mozgov and would have the chance to earn the starting gig. Certainly, he would push Mozgov for time, especially if the former Cleveland Cavaliers center doesn’t fit in well with Luke Walton’s philosophy and the Lakers core of athletic young players.”
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