The NBA is waiting for DeAndre Jordan and LaMarcus Aldridge to make their free agency decisions, and the Los Angeles Lakers are running out of options. Nearly every free agent worth chasing has already committed elsewhere, but the final shift in the market will come once the towering talents make their intentions known. The Lakers aren't offiically out of the running for either, but various reports indicate they're playing from behind.
Jordan concluded his free agency meetings Thursday evening, sitting down with the Los Angeles Clippers, who desperately need the big man back to remain a top contender in the Western Conference. The Clippers have familiarity, talent, coaching and direction to offer DeAndre, but the big man has concerns about the long-term outlook of the roster, according to Ramona Shelburne of ESPN. That's an interesting detail as he takes a serious look at a Dallas roster that doesn't look incredibly sustainable from the outside, even with the acquisition of Wesley Matthews.
DeAndre is not expected to drag out his decision long, but wanted time to process the round of meetings he took leading into the weekend. The Mavericks and Clippers are considered heavy favorites to sign him.
The Lakers were granted a second meeting with Aldridge, wanting a chance to "right" the wrong approach they took in their first sit down. Los Angeles was represented by Mitch Kupchak, Byron Scott and Mark Madsen and was completely focused on basketball during the 90 meeting engagement, reports Shelburne. Madsen attended as part of the pitch focused on analytics, but even with a revamped pitch, Aldridge allegedly wasn't "wooed" by what the Lakers brought to the table. LaMarcus is said to be torn about his decision with suitors like the San Antonio Spurs and Phoenix Suns making big plays to land him, and will take his time as he decides on the next step of his career.
This has been a stressful process to witness for the Lakers. The secondary options fell off the market quickly, and the talent left for them to comb through once these two frontcourt players make their choices leaves much to be desired. Tobias Harris remains as one of the most intriguing targets, but it's unclear what his status is. The Orlando Magic will have three days to match any offer sheet he signs, and Tobias can't officially begin that timer until July 9.
It's Fourth of July weekend, but it doesn't look like fireworks are on the itinerary for the Lakers this year.