The countdown to the gates of NBA Free Agency opening has gone from weeks to days, and the general “X team has interest in Y player” reports are still settling in before the real action begins. The Los Angeles Lakers are now said to “have interest” in Harrison Barnes, according to Chris Broussard of ESPN.
Broussard notes that Hassan Whiteside and Al Horford are on the Lakers’ wish list. Their interest in two of the best available big men is well reported heading into July 1.
The Philadelphia 76ers are also setting their sights on Barnes, as reported by ESPN’s Marc Stein, so there’s definitely going to be a market for the Warriors’ swingman. The Dubs may also be forced to find a new home for Barnes if they need to create salary space to sign a max-level free agent, so how his free agency plays out is one of the more fascinating stories of the offseason.
Broussard also writes the Lakers are planning on using their new head coach as a selling point, which was rumored to be one of their weak points during free agency pitches last summer:
The Lakers believe their new coach, the highly regarded Luke Walton, as well as their talented group of young players will be attractive to the top free agents on the market.
If using Luke Walton’s glowing reputation after his run with the Warriors as an asset during free agency is on the table, Barnes and Walton already have a lot to pull from. Where and if Barnes fits in the equation of the rebuild is unclear, but for now there’s no need to think too much about this. It’s a pre-agency rumor, and those are a dime a dozen.