The Los Angeles Lakers are 9-38 after their loss to the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday night, the worst record in the Western Conference and second worst record in the league behind the 7-39 Philadelphia 76ers. The loss was the Lakers' seventh consecutive defeat, and ninth loss in the team's last ten games.
The Lakers' on the court futility has led to many fans looking ahead to the draft, from tracking lottery odds on Tankathon to reading up on prospects like Ben Simmons and Brandon Ingram to get a better look at the future of the team. But the other avenue the Lakers will look to improve this off-season is free agency, where the Lakers are projected to have around $65.8 million dollars in cap space upon the expiration of Kobe Bryant and Roy Hibbert's mammoth contracts, the most in the league as things stand today.
While the most frequently talked about free agents on a day-to-day basis are more established stars like Kevin Durant and Mike Conley, Durant is likely a pipe dream and the Conley is not a great fit with the Lakers young back-court of Jordan Clarkson and D'Angelo Russell. One name who would fill a need for the team is Miami Heat center Hassan Whiteside, and according to Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders, Los Angeles could be a destination that interests him:
I think if the HEAT blink at all on a new deal for Whiteside, he lands in LA... has everything he wants. https://t.co/1mnljTrU3A— Steve Kyler (@stevekylerNBA) January 28, 2016
The Lakers famously worked out Whiteside and chose not to sign him last season, which ended with Whiteside earning his way on to the Miami Heat roster before breaking out and becoming their starting center. However, it's important to remember that even if the Lakers have interest, as Kyler notes, they will not be the only team pursuing the shot-blocking machine.
Whiteside's shot blocking would theoretically make him the ideal type of player to play next to Julius Randle on defense, while his pick-and-roll skills would leave him as easily the best roll man to ever play with D'Angelo Russell and Jordan Clarkson. While his much hinted at locker-room issues in Miami and with the Sacramento Kings before that could scare the organization away from offering him the maximum contract it would take to sign him, he still makes a lot of sense on the court for a Lakers team looking to improve this summer.
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