The Los Angeles Lakers are preparing to flex roughly $70 million in cap space to land free agents and have their eyes to the skies. LA plans on "aggressively pursuing" Hassan Whiteside, but they also have their targets set on DeMar DeRozan, according to Sam Amick of USA Today.
The Lakers being interested in a two-time All-Star that would be an immediate upgrade in the wings shouldn't be surprising to anyone. When you have that much money to spend every top player should be on the radar. DeRozan will be 27 by the time the '16-17 NBA season rolls around, putting him right in his prime. The Lakers' core might be on the younger side, but adding established veterans to help lead the little rascals forward is something the front office is also taking into consideration.
Their interest in DeRozan may be all for naught, though. The Toronto Raptors reportedly have the inside track on retaining DeMar and can offer him the most money on the open market. DeRozan doesn't have any plans on meeting with other teams unless things fall through with the Raptors, but Amick believes the Lakers could end up with an opportunity to court DeRozan:
As for DeRozan, he has plenty of options on hold as well. The Lakers, who could wind up getting a meeting with DeRozan, in part, because he still resides there during the summer, are widely known to be very interested in making him part of their young core. The Clippers, Golden State Warriors, Miami Heat, New York Knicks, and Orlando Magic are also hoping to lure him stateside.
But it's the Raptors first for DeRozan, and then all the rest - with a few wrinkles to be ironed out along the way.
Free agency hasn't begun yet, but the dominoes are beginning to line up before they start falling on July 1.