The Los Angeles Lakers will enter a new era next season after future Hall of Famer Kobe Bryant retired. Recent Lakers rumors indicate the Purple and Gold squad will likely be among the most active teams in free agency and trade market.
Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak told NBA.com in April they will likely address their need for solid frontcourt players this summer. According to Bleacher Report, here are the realistic options for the Lakers when the free agency period kicks off in July.
Al Horford – Atlanta Hawks
Al Horford will be one of the most coveted free agents this summer, and based on recent NBA trade rumors, the Hawks are already preparing for his departure. The Lakers will feature their young players like D’Angelo Russell and Jordan Clarkson along with the No. 2 pick this year, but will need a veteran leader to succeed.
Horford could be the guy, according to the report, but it remains to be seen whether or not he will be interested in playing for a rebuilding team. The 30-year-old center, who has spent his entire nine-year career in Atlanta, averaged 15.2 points and 7.3 rebounds this season.
Hassan Whiteside – Miami Heat
Hassan Whiteside is also expected to draw a lot of attention in free agency this summer. Whiteside averaged 14.2 points and 11.8 rebounds on top of 3.7 blocks for the Miami Heat this season.
Based on his numbers, the 26-year-old will be a solid piece for a rebuilding team like the Lakers. However, Heat president Pat Riley has made it no secret keeping Whiteside will be their top priority in the offseason. Can the Lakers outbid Riley and the Heat to acquire Whiteside?
Bismack Biyombo – Toronto Raptors
Toronto Raptors center Bismack Biyombo was also mentioned among the potential targets for the Lakers if they decide to sign a defensive stopper. He turned doubters into believers in their Eastern Conference finals series against the Cleveland Cavaliers, where he averaged 6.8 points, 12.3 rebounds and 2.3 blocks in the first four games.
Biyombo and the Raptors both want to reach a new deal this summer. However, the report pointed out the Raptors might go into a different direction if Biyombo receives an offer around $15 million. The 23-year-old earned $2.8 million this season and is expected to opt out of his $2.9 million contract for next season.