The Los Angeles Lakers seem unlikely to get a meeting with Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant, the top free agent on the market this summer. The front office is reportedly trying to change that, but they also have to look at contingency plans if they are unable to reel in this year’s biggest fish.
One of those backup options is the team’s “aggressive” pursuit of pick-and-roll monster Hassan Whiteside, but he isn’t the only center the team is chasing after. Marc Stein of ESPN reports that the Lakers, along with “the Houston Rockets, Orlando Magic, Detroit Pistons, Washington Wizards, Boston Celtics and Brooklyn Nets,” are all interested in signing Atlanta Hawks center Al Horford.
This isn’t the first time Los Angeles’ interest in Horford has been reported, but it is interesting in the wake of general manager Mitch Kupchak’s comments implying that the Lakers’ top goal in free agency is to fill the team’s giant hole at center.
Horford’s game would mesh flawlessly with what the Lakers need out of a center. A 7-footer who is not only a standout defender, but has expanded his range out to the three-point line while continuing to serve as an excellent pick-and-roll/pick-and-pop target for point guards is essentially the player a Lakers would design in a lab to fit alongside their young core.
However, the youth of that core is the rub here. At 30-years old, Horford is in all likelihood not looking to join the Lakers’ gaggle of unproven youth and would probably prefer to go to a situation where he can win now. The Lakers should still sniff around, but it would be a surprise if their interest is reciprocated.
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